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A 



COMMENTARY 
ON THE BIBLE 



EDITED BY 

ARTHUR S. PEAKE, M.A., D.D. 

RYLANDS PROFESSOR OF BIBLICAL EXEGESIS IN THE UNIVERSITY 

OF MANCHESTER; PROFESSOR IN HARTLEY COLLEGE, MANCHESTER. 

SOMETIME FELLOW OF MERTON COLLEGE, OXFORD 

WITH THE ASSISTANCE FOR THE NEW TESTAMENT OF 

A. J. GRIEVE, M.A., D.D. 

PRINCIPAL OF THE CONGREGATIONAL HALL 
EDINBURGH 

INTRODUCTION BY 
MELANCTHON WOOLSEY STRYKER, D.D., LL.D. 

FORMERLY PRESIDENT OF HAMILTON COLLEGE; AUTHOR OF 
"ENGLISH BIBLE VERSIONS AND ORIGINS," ETC. 



THOMAS NELSON & SONS 

381-385 FOURTH AVENUE, NEW YORK 

T. C. & E. C. JACK, LTD. 

LONDON 



COPYRIGHT, 1920, 

by 

THOMAS NELSON & SONS 

NEW YORK 



INTRODUCTION 

THIS important commentary is a careful and candid attempt to set forth 
the present results of intensive modern Biblical study. 
With minute paragraphic analysis, each of the sixty-six sundry 
portions of our "divine library" is here considered by independent, 
reverent and constructive scholars, all of them specialists of large repute and 
all agreeing to seek fact and to foru-^ard a truer ultimate regard for the 
literar}^ basis and cumulative appeal of the book of books. 

Some forty essays, dealing with particular questions of salient and funda- 
mental importance, make a various and acute effort to effect a sympathetic 
comprehension of scriptures which to us merge in one culminating result. 
These help to furnish a massive digest and compendium of that history which 
through eras of process led on to the consummation in which the "Hope of 
Israel" became the hope of the world. 

What this composite book actually is concerns every thoughtful man. No 
respectful consideration of its total claim can be too urgent or too keen. All 
conjecture and inference aside, we are on firm ground when we discern, all 
along, the impulses of men alive with the purpose to describe the continuity 
of God's working with an elect people, and to advance the sense of His 
deepening approach, through this people, to all the sons of man. In diverse 
portions the perpetual message was given and put to record. Numberless 
unknown hands wrought sincerely to preserve and to continue the great 
tradition of Israel. Amazingly various mental traits, laboring in as various 
ways, were fused into a unity whose efficiency is providentially immortal. 
W'hatever the woof, the warp of the great story is of God. 

The Bible has survived many theories as to the world and as to itself. 
It is enough that we should take it as it is, — its continuous precept being the 
reconciliation of man to the Creator and Possessor of all souls. It is 
co-ordinate with the origin and purpose of the Christian Church. The first 
words of Genesis are a chant of the dawn, — a poem of Creation, putting God 
before all, "in whom all things consist," and leading up to Man, as the sphere 
and subject of His crowning work. Slowly indeed grew the recognition of 
Him who by man revealed Himself for man. With Abraham begins all that 
we can call history. The story of Israel is a great motion picture, with so 
intense a claim because in that little corner of the world the seed was sown 
that grew toward a consummation to which faith in a Faithful Creator turns 
to find His supreme manifestation. 

The collection of writings which we call the Old Testament records the 
processes wherein the apprehension of God was developed and confirmed. 
Between Egypt and Assyria and Rome, Israel survived them all in its age-long 
contribution and influence. The scrutiny of this august and singular story 
cannot be too precise. The books must tell their own story; for they are our 
sources. Long before Herodotus, the devoted scribes were collating and editing 
and preserving the monumental tale. The tendency, the convergency, of such 
a composite record could not be fully discerned by them. But they searched 
after a significance they could not then understand and we believe their pens 
were restrained and guided by a wisdom not their own. Being human, they 
were not infallible : but they were heedful and were honest. Much of this 
transcript outline of the strange, eventful history has doubtless been irrecover- 



ably lost: but what we retain is treasurable indeed, and just so far as we can 
we are to disentangle and wind the precious skein. 

We honor these ancient writings not by imposing upon them any particu- 
laristic theory of their transcript or their transmission; but by a jealous study 
which begs no question and which ever seeks the true axis of interpretation. 
Only thus can we refuse to jeopard our conviction that the best record fallible 
man could make of such an "increasing purpose" and its human answer was 
a part of the inefifable program of God. Candor must turn to the great 
chronicle with all the discernment it can attain, and so with every just test 
discern the august tendency which underlies the vocal page. Every science of 
interpretation must be respected. 

If there be discrepancies, or anachronisms, or composition of sources, or 
"tendency" editing, or uncertain dates, or diverse methods ; none the less the 
whole urge of the books is unitary and convincing. The breadth of the story 
is its power. Scribal misunderstandings, or composite authorship, cannot baulk 
the appreciation of the great integral and divine leadership, nor foil our 
gratitude to those who felt about in the twilight with glimpses of the hope 
which prisoned, even while it grew and brightened toward the life and 
immortality that, far away, were to be "brought to light through the gospel" ! 

Marvellous is the fidelity of this biography of Israel. The lapses of 
reverend men — Abraham, Jacob, David — are unfalteringly told, the bitter 
annals of the flagrant idolatries and rebellions of the chosen people, the 
martyrdoms of the just, the caprices, the penalties, the humiliations. 

A great value of this commentary, wisely used, will be its emphasis upon 
what is known as "Introduction," — that is, the explanation of each book as a 
whole, the questions of time, occasion, authorship and purpose. Too much have 
we held the Bible as a mass, en bloc, and made it but a repertoire of detachable 
texts and maxims. But the serious reader does not deal with verses and 
chapters : but with individual books in their entirety. Who wrote what, and 
when and why? are indispensable queries to those who would intelligently press 
these ripe clusters. Sortilege is a bad corollary of casual and piecemeal 
approach to a book so dishonored by superficial attention. 

To recover the absolute chronological order of the sundry books in either 
Testament is not now possible. They are arranged in topical classes. But this 
commentary assists us toward a valuable dating, which greatly aids us to 
discern environment and progress. Each part has a time record which bears 
upon its nexus and its pertinency. Heeding this, we escape the obsession of a 
mere amanuensis notion and the writings palpitate with the personality of 
living men who were "moved by the Holy Spirit." This perception is indis- 
pensable. 

The persistent and prefatory movement of the elder scriptures, the 
primitive stages of development, the sifting and array of sources, — about these 
and many such like points of understanding there has sprung up a vast 
literature. Much of this has important reference here. 

Under such study as this volume olTers many remote and difficult things 
are much illuminated. These limited lines cannot purport to summarize where 
so much is valuable. The writer is helped by the studies of the temple services 
and the institutions of Israel, the sacred persons and places and seasons, the 
family and home, trade and arms, the suffused ethical impulse of the prophets 
as over against liturgy and priesthood, the triumph of a pure monotheism 
and the ever-crescent apprehension of Israel's calling. The article on Prophecy 
is great. 



Samuel, acolyte and prime minister; Nathan, Elijah, Micaiah ; what men 
were these, refusing all the smooth things of convention and time-serving! 
Jeremiah, devoted and broken-hearted, as his people followed their evil kings 
headlong to ruin; the heart tragedy of Hosea; the sensitive, glowing, difficult 
door of Ezekiel ; the rapture of the dual Isaiah; — here are we helped to draw 
clear to the prophetic period, full as it was of the passion of an intense present. 
These mighty tones of rebuke and of hope utter the very consciousness and 
conscience of this separated race, avatar at once of judgment and of glory. 

Peculiarly acute is the analysis of that great drama — Job, whose twin 
problems are the ethics of the Rights of God and the Inexplicable Sufferings 
of Good Men. Most keen perhaps is the critique upon that selection of Hebrew 
lyrics which we call the Psalms. These beloved songs of Israel, in so many 
different keys, are many of them, or most, assigned to periods far later than 
venerable tradition had hitherto said, some even to centuries nearing the 
Christian era. Many dates must be unascertainable. Assuredly such as we 
have can be but a selection and remainder from many, many, more like musical 
devotions. In this analysis critics cannot be infallible, nor do they claim to 
be: but whatever is now lost the remainders are invaluable. The intrinsic 
evidence must be followed. Blended with an intense nationalism, with a pungent 
historical sense and a profound recognition of the wonders of His world, with 
its uplifting analogies, are such a yearning toward God and tender confidence in 
His care and guidance, such a bold commitment to His loving will, as have 
made these chorales of faith a deathless satisfaction to piety and have given 
them a universal leadership in liturgy. If any view and survey of these must 
be changed, still their value endures. They lead up to the Magnificat and the 
In Excelsis. They are part of the historical approach to Him whose Gospel 
contradicts some of their fierce maledictions. For He who was the Rock of 
Israel is now the Rock of Ages. 

The value of this book of comment and explanation lies in a less vague 
appreciation of how God's revelation through Israel advanced to the crisis of 
the Cross. Minor questions of text and time retire before such a view of the 
divine process. Outlook widens thereby and insight deepens. The spiritual 
posterity of Israel discerns in the apostles of the first century the succession 
of that great prophetic line whose leaders were hated, mocked, destroyed, 
counted as traitors : but whose testimonies to their own times survive for the 
admonition of all after ages. 

This interpretation is positive and coherent, and under it the canon gains 
new authority. Under the pressure of God's constant Spirit the separate items 
of Hebrew lore become an evolutionary unit and link with the blessed writings, 
which under the first flush of conviction and consecration stamp with aposto- 
licity the twenty-seven parts of the New Covenant and weld them as the 
complement of the elder record. In this connection let us remember W'estcott's 
"Christus Consummator," and Matheson's "Spiritual Development of the 
Apostle Paul," speaking also most gratefully of Edersheim's "Life of Christ." 
(E. was a Hebrew believer and minute scholar in all that connected that 
present with its past.) Nor can we forget our debt to that great exegete, 
H. A. W. Meyer. 

In the New Testament also we must distinguish authors and dates. If 
we are to understand the diversity of Amos and Malachi, we are equally to 
reckon the variety of Peter and John. Such distinction the book before us 
helps us to attain. James is not Luke, nor is Jude, Paul. Each "spake as he 
saw." Exact order is not attainable, but we may be sure that Mark's was the 
first written gospel, that John's gospel was the latest book of the New Testa- 



ment, and that the epistles were prior to all else. Vastly helpful, herein, are the 
analytical commentaries upon the letter-treatises of the Apostle Paul, inde- 
pendent studies all of them, but matched in one purpose and purport. Fine is 
the discussion of the anonymous letter to the Hebrews. Clear and translucent 
is the essay upon "The Life and Teachings of Jesus." 

In this Divine Man we come to the climax. The story of this Messiah 
pervades every paragraph of the hallowed writings of the first century. A. D. 
dates the whole hope of man. With calm, eternal eyes. He faced the exciting 
scenes of His ministry. Firm and gentle, He did not evade the certain issue 
of His interpretation of God. He purposed the consummation and with no 
evasion advanced to the inevitable cross. Under that mock trial. He deliberately 
laid down His life, even for those who thus attempted to be rid of Him ! There 
He draws all men unto Him. The Great Kinsman gave Himself as the final 
Lamb. So he transfigured death and the ascendant Dawn banishes the clouds 
it beautified. We re-read the Old Testament and revise our estimate of it in 
the light of the New. "But I say" both fulfilled and reversed its antecedents. 
God's self-discovery to man, in its crescendo, resolves into complete harmony 
many a discord of its earlier progressions. The troubled minors go by in the 
diapasoned cadence. Such are the wonders of Almighty Love, — "a spectacle 
to the Universe" ! 

. "Edgewise, bladewise, half-wise, whole-wise ; 'tis done ; 
Good morrow, Lord Sun" ! 

This commentary enables us to see that the revelation once adolescent 
steadily advanced, as grows a lithograph. The Messiah is at once the blossom 
and the correction of Israel. What they had complicated. He simplified. What 
they had antiquated He modernized. He gleams against the background of 
convention and tradition. Still must He correct many a false assumption of 
our fallible philosophy. Still He hears the bitter cry of this tragic and 
barbaric world. Only His Spirit can alleviate its pangs and reverse "the 
handwriting that w as against us" ! 

Who studies this commentary, whose suggestions are thus but faintly 
reflected, must be grateful for the devout scholarship which makes possible 
a much widened view of the records which Divine Mercy has provided for 
the confirmation of intelligent faith. 

M. W. Stryker. 



LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS, 



Author. 
ADDIS, the late Rev. William E., M.A., formerly Professor of 

Old Testament Criticism in Manchester College, Oxford. 
ADENP^Y, the Rev. Walter F., M.A., D.D., formerly Principal 

of Lancashire Independent College, Manchester. 
ANDREWS, the Rev. Herbert T., B.A., D.D., Professor of 

New Testament Exegesis in New and Hackney Colleges, 

University of London. 
BARTLET, the Rev. James Vernon, M.A., D.D., Professor of 

Church History in Mansfield College, Oxford. 

BEDALE, the late Rev. C. L., M.A., Professor in Didsbury 
College, and Special Lecturer in Assyriology in the Univer- 
sity of Manchester. 

BENNETT, the Rev. William Henry, M.A., Litt.D., D.D., 
Principal of Lancashire Independent College, Manchester, 
sometime Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge. 

BISSEKER, the Rev. Harry, M.A., Professor in Richmond 
College. 

BOX, the Rev. George H., M.A., D.D., Professor of Hebrew 
and Old Testament Exegesis in King's College, London ; 
Hon. Canon of St. Albans. 

BROOK, the Rev. R., M.A., Fellow and Tutor of Merton 
College, Oxford. 

BROOKE, the Rev. Alan E., D.D., Professor of Divinity in the 
University of Cambridge and Canon of Ely. 

CANNEY, Maurice A., Professor of Semitic Languages and 
Literature in the University of Manchester. 

CARPENTER, the Rev. J. Estlin, M.A., D.Litt., formerly 
Principal of Manchester College, Oxford. 

COOKE, the Rev. George A., M.A., D.D., Regius Professor of 
Hebrew and Canon of Christ Church, Oxford ; sometime 
Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford. 

DAVIES, the Rev. T. Witton, B.A., Ph.D., D.D., Professor of 
Semitic Languages, University College of North Wales, 
Bangor. 

DAVISON, the Rev. William T., M.A., D.D., Principal of 

Richmond College. 
DUFF, the Rev. Archibald, M.A., LL.D., D.D., Professor of 

Hebrew and Old Testament Theology in the United College, 

Bradford. 



Subject. 
PSALMS. 

PHILIPPIANS. ' 

APOCALYPTIC LITERATURE; 

DANIEL; 1 and 2 THESSALO- 

NIANS; REVELATION. 
THE RELIGIOUS BACKGROUND 

OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 

WRITINGS. ' 
THE NATIONS CONTEMPORARY 

WITH ISRAEL. 

1 and 2 SAMUEL. 



THE PASTORAL EPISTLES. 
HOSEA. 

2 PETER ; JUDE. 

JOHN. 

AMOS. 

INTRODUCTION TO THE PENTA- 
TEUCH. 

THE LANGUAGES OF THE OLD 
TESTAMENT. 

DEUTERONOMY. 

HEBREW WISDOM. 
ESTHER; LAMENTATIONS. 



LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS. 



Author. 
EMMET, the Rev. C. W., M.A., Vicar of West Hendred. 

FINDLAY, the Rev. George G., D.D., Professor in New Testa- 
ment Exegesis and Classics at Headingley College. 

FOAKES-JACKSON, the Rev. Frederick J., M.A., D.D., Fellow 
of Jesus College, Cambridge, Briggs Professor of Christian 
Institutions in Union Tlieological Seminary, New York. 

FRANKS, the Rev. Robert S., M.A., B.Litt., Principal of 
Western College, Bristol. 

GORDON, the Rev. Alexander R., D.Litt., D.D., Professor of 
Hebrew in M'Gill University and of Old Testament Litera- 
ture and Exegesis in tlie Presbyterian College, Montreal. 

GRIEVE, the Rev. Alexander J., M.A., D.D., Principal and 
Professor of Systematic Theology in the Scottish Congrega- 
tional Theological Hall, Edinburgh. 



GWATKIN, the late Rev, Henry Melville, M.A., D.D., Dixie 

Professor of Ecclesiastical History in the University of 

Cainljridge, Fellow of Emmanuel College. 
HARFORD, the Rev. George, M.A., Hon. Canon of Liverpool. 
HAVERFIELD, Francis John, M.A., LL.D., D.Litt., F.B.A., 

Camden Professor of Ancient History in the University of 

Oxford. 

HOLMES, the Rev. Samuel, M.A., formerly Lecturer in 
Theology, Jesus College, Oxford. 

HOOKE, the Rev. Samuel Henry, M.A., B.D., Professor of 
Oriental Languages and Literature in Victoria College, 
Toronto. 

HUDSON, William Henry, Staff Lecturer in English Literature 
to the Extension Board of London University ; formerly Pro- 
fessor of English Literature, Stanford University, California, 
and Professorial Lecturer in the University of California. 

HUMPHRIES, the Rev. Albert Lewis, M.A., Professor of New 
Testament Greek and Exegesis and of Systematic Theology 
in Hartley Primitive Methodist College, Manchester. 

JONES, the Rev. E. Griffith, B.A., D.D., Principal of the 
United College, Bradford. 

JORDAN, the Rev. W. G., D.D., Professor in Queen's Univer- 
sity, Kingston, Ontario, Canada. 

JOYCE, the Rev. G. C, D.D., Principal of St. David's College, 
Lampeter. 

KENNEDY, the Rev. Archibald R. S., M.A., D.D., Professor 
of Hebrew and Semitic Languages in the University of 
Edinburgh. 

KENNEDY, the Rev. H. A. A., M.A., D.D., D.Sc, Professor 
of New Testament Langxiage, Literature, and Theology, 
New College, Edinburgh. 

KENNETT, the Rev. Robert Hatch, M.A., D.D., Regius Pro- 
fessor of Hebrew in the University of Cambridge, Fellow 
of Queen's College, and Canon of Ely. 



SUB.IECT. 

THE 'APOSTOLIC AGE AND THE 

LIFE OF PAUL. 
ROMANS. 

THE HISTORICAL BOOKS OF THE 
OLD TESTAMENT; 1 and 2 
KINGS. 

JOB. 

NAHUM ; HABAKKUK ; ZEPHA- 
NIAH. 

ECCLESIASTES ; MALACHI ; THE 
CHRONOLOGY OF THE NEW 
TESTAMENT; MATTHEW; 
LUKE; THE CATHOLIC EPIS- 
TLES. 

JEWISH HISTORY FROM THE 
MACCABEES TO THE DE- 
STRUCTION OF JERUSALEM. 

EXODUS. 

THE ROMAN EMPIRE IN THE 
FIRST CENTURY. 

JOSHUA. 

PROVERBS. 

THE BIBLE AS LITERATURE. 
1 JOHN ; 2 JOHN ; 3 JOHN. 



THE BIBLE: ITS MEANING AND 

AIM. 
THE RELIGION OF ISRAEL ; THE 

SONG OF SONGS. 
OLD TESTAMENT PROPHECY. 

WEIGHTS, MEASURES, MONEY, 
AND TIME. 

THE PAULINE THEOLOGY. 



HAGGAI; ZECHARIAH. 



LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS. 



Author. 

LOFTHOUSE, the Rev. William Frederick, M.A., Professor in 
Old Testament Language and Literature and in Philosopby 
at Haudsworth College. 

M'FADYEN, the Rev. John Edgar, D.D., Professor of Old 
Testament Language, Literature, and Theology, United 
Free Church College, Glasgow. 

MACKINTOSH, tlie Rev. Robert, M.A., D.D., Professor of 
Christian Ethics, Apologetics, and Sociology in Lancashire 
Independent College, and Lecturer in the University of 
Manchester. 

M'NEILE, the Rev. A. H., D.D., Regius Professor of Divinity 
in the University of Dublin, Fellow of Sidney Sussex 
College, Cambridge. 

MARTIN, the Rev. G. Currie, M.A., B.D., Lecturer in con- 
nexion with National Council of Adult Schools, late Profes- 
sor of New Testament Theology and Patristics iu the United 
College, Bradford, and in Lancashire Independent College. 

MASTERMAN, E. W. Gurney, M.D., F.R.C.S., F.R.G.S., 
D.P.H. 

MENZIES, the late Rev. Allan, D.D., Professor of Divinity 
and Biblical Criticism, St. Mary's College, University of 
St. Andrews. 

MOFFATT, the Rev. James, M.A., D.D., D.Litt., Professor of 
Church History in the United Free Church College, Glasgow. 

MONTEFIORE, Claude G., M.A. 

MOULTON, the late Rev. James Hope, D.Litt., D.D., D.C.L., 
D.Theol., Greenwood Professor of Hellenistic Greek and 
Indo-European Philology in the University of Manchester, 
New Testament Professor in Didsbury College. 

MOULTON, the Rev. Wilfrid J., il.A., B.D., Professor of 
Systematic Theology iu Headiugley College. 

MURRAY, George Gilbert Aime, M.A., LL.D., D.Litt., F.B.A., 
Regius Professor of Greek in the University of Oxford. 

MURRAY, the Rev. John Owen Farquhar, M.A., D.D., Master 
of Selwyn College, Cambridge, sometime Fellow of Em- 
manuel College, Hon. Canon of Ely. 

OESTERLEY, the Rev. W. 0. E., M.A., D.D., Vicar of St. 

Alban's, Bedford Park, London. 
PEAKE, A. S., M.A., D.D., Rylands Professor of Biblical 

Exegesis in the University of Manchester, and Professor in 

Hartley Primitive Methodist College, sometime Fellow of 

Merton College, Oxford. 



Subject. 



LEVITICUS. 



EZEKIEL. 



GALATLANS. 



THE HISTORY OF ISRAEL. 



1 PETER. 



THE HOLY LAND. 

ACTS. 



THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE NEW 
TESTAMENT LITERATURE. 

CONTEMPORARY JEWISH RE- 
LIGION. 

THE LANGUAGE OF THE NEW 
TESTAMENT; JAMES. 



THE SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS OF 
ISRAEL. 

PAGAN RELIGION AT THE COM- 
ING OF CHRISTIANITY. 

THE CANON OF THE NEW TESTA- 
MENT ; THE TEXT AND 
TEXTUAL CRITICISM OF THE 
NEW TESTAMENT. 

1 and 2 CHRONICLES ; EZRA- 
NEHEMIAH. 

THE DEVELOPMENT OF OLD 
TESTAMENT LITERATURE ; 
THE CHRONOLOGY OF THE 
OLD TESTAMENT; GENESIS; 
THE POETICAL AND WISDOM 
LITERATURE ; THE PRO- 
PHETIC LITERATURE ; ISAIAH 
I-XXXIX ; JONAH ; ORGANI- 
SATION, CHURCH MEETINGS. 
DISCIPLINE, SOCIAL AND 
ETHICAL PROBLEMS ; THE 
PAULINE EPISTLES ; 1 CO- 
RINTHIANS, GENERAL 
BIBUOGRAPHIES. 



LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS. 



Author. 
RAWLINSON, the Rev. A. E. J., M.A., Student and Tutor of 

Christ Church, Oxford, late Tutor of Keble College. 
ROBINSON, the Rev. H. Wheeler, M.A., Professor in Rawdon 

College. 
SCOTT, the Rev. C. Anderson, M.A., D.D., Professor of the 

Language, Literature, and Theology of the New Testament 

in Westminster College, Cambridge. 

SCOTT, the Rev. E. F., D.D., Professor of New Testament 
Literature in Queen's University, Kingston, Canada. 

SKINNER, the Rev. Jolin, M.A., D.D., Principal of West- 
minster College, Cambridge. 

STRAHAN, the Rev. James, M.A., D.D., Professor of Hebrew 
and Biblical Criticism in the Magee Presbyterian College, 
Londonderry. 

STREETER, the Rev. Burnett H., M.A., Fellow and Lecturer 
of Queen's College, Oxford, Canon of Hereford. 

WADE, the Rev. George Woosung, M.A., D.D., Professor of 
Latin and Senior Tutor of St. David's College, Lampeter. 

WARDLE, the Rev. William Lansdell, M.A., B.D., Professor 
of Hebrew and English in Hartley Primitive Methodist 
College, Manchester. 

WHITEHOUSE, the late Rev. Owen C, ]M.A., D.D., Professor 
in Cheshunt College, Cambridge. 

WOOD, Herbert G., M.A., Warden of Woodbrooke Settlement, 
sometime Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge. 



Subject. 

EPHESIANS ; COLOSSIANS ; PHILE- 
MON. 

JEREiHAH; OBADIAH ; MICAH. 
2 CORINTHIANS. 



HEBREWS. 

CANON AND TEXT OF THE OLD 
TESTAMENT. 

JUDGES; RUTH. 



THE SYNOPTIC PROBLEM. 

NUMBERS. 

ISAIAH XL-LXVI; JOEL. 



THE RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS 

OF ISRAEL. 
THE LIFE AND TEACHING OF 

JESUS; MARK. 



PREFACE 

THE present work is designed to put before the reader in a simple form, without 
technicalities, the generally accepted results of Biblical Criticism, Interpretation, 

History, and Theology. It is not intended to be homiletic or devotional, but to convey 
with precision, and yet in a popular and interesting way, the meaning of the original 
writers, and reconstruct the conditions in which they worked and of which they wrote. 
It will thus, while not explicitly devotional or practical, provide that accurate interpretation 
of the text through which alone the sound basis for devotional use and practical application 
can be laid. It has been the desire of the promoters that it should be abreast of the present 
position of scholarship, and yet succeed in making the Scriptures live for its readers with 
something of the same significance and power that they possessed for those to whom they 
were originally addressed. While it is intended in the first instance for the layman, and 
should prove specially helpful to day and Sunday school teachers, to lay preachers, to leaders 
of men's societies, brotherhoods, and adult Bible classes, and to Christian workers generally, 
it should also be of considerable use to clergymen and ministers, and in particular to 
theological students. 

The problem of the Editor was to use the space at his disposal to the best advantage. 
It was necessary to explain the text, but also to provide a knowledge of the background, to 
sketch the social and political conditions, to trace the historical and religious development, to 
reconstruct the environment, to arrange the writings in their chronological order. A series of 
articles was accordingly planned, so that the exposition of the text might be relieved, but also 
that the general information essential to serious study of the Bible should be provided. 
Three general articles deal with the nature and significance of Scripture, the literary 
characteristics of the Bible, and the Holy Land. The remaining articles are so arranged 
that first the languages, the collection of the books into a sacred canon, the restoration of 
the text, the historical development of the literature are described. From these we pass to 
history, not only of Israel or of the Church, but of the world in which they were placed. 
From history we proceed to religion and religious institutions, and then to social institu- 
tions and chronology. Articles are also prefixed to groups of books. Taken together, 
quite apart from the Commentary, the articles form a fairly complete Companion to the 
Bible ; taken with the Commentary, they provide a background for the more detailed study 
of the text. 

The Commentary is based on the text (including, of course, the marginal renderings) of 
the Revised Version. The style of exposition naturally varies to some extent with the 
type of text to be explained. As a general principle, contributors were asked to take the 
paragraph rather than the verse as the unit, so that each section might be expounded as 



xii PREFACE. 

a connected whole ratlier than treated in a series of detached and snippety notes. But 
while the exegesis of details was to be worked into the continuous exposition, it was 
recognised that in many instances separate notes would need to be added. 

The contributors were, it need hardly be said, left free to express their own views 
and treat the sections of the work for which they were responsible in their own way, 
within the limits imposed by the general plan of the series. But the editorial work has 
been both heavy and responsible. In addition to the planning of the work, the distribu- 
tion of space, and the securing of contributors, the articles and commentaries were read 
in manuscript and at every stage of the proofs, and in several instances the Editor carried 
on a considerable correspondence with the authors on matters that called for reconsidera- 
tion, or were occasioned by indifference to the limitations of time and space. He has 
devoted much time to cross-referencing the volume, and to the preparation of the Index, 
which he hopes will add greatly to the usefulness of the work. He has also made 
numerous additions to the work of other contributox's. This has been due in some measure 
to the necessity for co-ordination. In many cases a note would be equally appropriate in 
several places, and contributors working independently may not unnaturally assume that 
an explanation has been given somewhere in the volume and refrain from repetition. The 
Editor has to watch that it is not omitted altogether. Where practicable he has worked 
matter of this kind into his own contributions, but in other cases it has been necessary 
to insert it elsewhere. Other additions have been designed to put an alternative view 
before tlie reader, which it seemed undesirable to ignore, or to supply interesting informa- 
tion, or to give help to those whom it is an editor's special duty, as "occupying the place 
of the unlearned," to keep constantly in mind. No reflection on the contributors is implied 
by such additions, since they had to work within narrow limits of space and in ignorance 
of each other's contributions. Since it is one of the most necessary features of such a 
book that the reader should always know whose work he is reading, all editorial additions, 
whether by the Editor himself throughout the volume, or by Dr. Grieve in the New 
Testament part of it, are enclosed in square brackets and initialled. Editorial work on 
the bibliographies, which has sometimes been extensive in order to secure some uniformity 
of scale, has of course not been indicated, nor yet the addition of numerous references. 

The apportionment of space has been an anxious matter. It. has been determined 
partly by the nature of the matter, whether lucid or obscure, compact or diffuse ; partly by 
the question whether it deals with a text that is but little studied or that is widely read. 

On one or two points of detail it may be desirable to say a few words liere, referring 
the reader for other matters to the explanations and suggestions which follow. In the 
Old Testament the order of tlie books given in the English Bible is retained. In the New 
Testament Mark is placed before Matthew, while Colossians and Philemon are taken with 
Ephesians. The former rearrangement needs no justification. Study of the Synoptic 
Gos[)els ought to begin with the earliest : the exposition of Matthew should be adjusted to 
that of Mark, rather than, as usually happens, Mark be constantly explained by reference 
to the comments on Matthew. By giving Mark the priority in treatment, which accords 
with its priority in time and its employment by the other Synoptists, the student is helped 
to grasp more firmly the earliest literary presentation of the ministry and personality of 



PREFACE. xiii 

Jesus now accessible to us, and to watch how this was moulded in the later sources. Nor 
does the combination of Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon call for any defence. 

The prefix St. (or S.) has been omitted throughout in accordance with the Editor's 
strongly expressed wish. On this he may quote from a communication he made to the 
contributors : " Where one of the great difficulties with which teachers of the Bible have 
to contend is the sense of unreality that invests so much of the Biblical history, the use 
of reverential epithets tends to interpose a veil between the modern reader and faces 
already too dim. The vivid sense of actual history, the i-ealisation that apostles and 
evangelists were men of flesh and blood like our own, which it is a main purpose of the 
Commentary to give, is likely to be somewhat blunted by bringing into our interpretation 
of the record the attitude of a later age." 

In his editorial work on the New Testament section of the volume the Editor has had 
the assistance of Dr. Grieve. He, too, has worked through the contributions in manuscript 
and in proof, and done much of the cross-referencing ; he has made many suggestions ; 
and cordial thanks are due to him for his skill, his energy, and his loyal co-operation. 

The ranks of the contributors have been thinned by death. Professor Driver had 
undertaken the commentaries on Micah and Obadiah. That his death should have deprived 
the volume of these contributions, and of the distinction his inclusion in the list of writers 
would have conferred, is to be deeply regretted ; but it would be ungracious to dwell on 
our special loss, when we remember in how many ways his all-too-early departure has 
impoverished us. Professor Wheeler Robinson has kindly supplied the commentaries 
Dr. Driver was unable to write. We have also lost Dr. Whitehouse, Mr. Addis, Professor 
J. H. Moulton, Professor Gwatkin, Professor Menzies, and Professor Bedale — a grievous loss 
to scholarship in every case. Each had sent in his contribution and seen proofs. The 
Editor's thanks are due to Miss Lilian Whitehouse for the great pains she spent on her 
father's proofs, and to Rev. William Edie for the similar service he rendered to those of 
Dr. Menzies. Professor Bedale's proofs had been finally passed for press before his death ; 
for the rest the Editor assumed responsibility. He has also to thank his dear friend and 
colleague. Professor W. L. Wardle, for generously reading the proofs of all his contribu- 
tions, for checking a specially difficult set of references in a commentary by another 
writer, and for help in checking the Index. Nor can he forget the constant interest and 
cordial co-operation of the publishers during this period of unprecedented stress. Above 
all, his gratitude is due to his secretary and friend, Miss Elsie Cann, who has laboured 
with unfailing devotion to bring the enterprise to a successful issue. It is a pleasure to 
acknowledge the service she has so freely and fully rendered during more than fourteen 
years of happy and harmonious co-operation, and especially through the trying and exact- 
ing labours of the past six years, during which, next to his professional duties, the 
preparation of this work has been his main occupation. 

It was hoped when the task was undertaken in 1913 that the volume would be ready 
for publication in 1917. The Editor's work was hampered first by the severe and prolonged 
illness of his secretary in 1914 and later, and then by his own breakdown, which came 
near to proving irreparable, in 1915. As the war went on, the difficulties of printing 
were greatly aggravated; and this inevitably postponed the preparation and checking of 



xiv PREFACE. 

the Index, which has proved a colossal task. No one regrets the delay in publication 
more than the publishers and the Editor, but it has been unavoidable. In several cases 
it has been impossible for contributors to take account of recently published literature, 
since their commentaries or articles had already been set up in page ; but mention of it 
has frequently been inserted in the bibliographie.s. It is most regrettable that so notable 
a work as Sir James Frazer's Folk-Lore in the Old Testament did not appear till the 
whole volume had been long passed for press. In taking leave of the task which has so 
long absorbed his attention, the Editor thanks all the contributors, to whose share in it its 
reputation and usefulness will be so largely due, for the invariable and generous kindness 
with which they have treated him, and trusts that in the amplest measure their common 
aim will be attained. 
May 1919. 



TABLE OF CONTENTS. 



THE BIBLE: ITS MEANING AND AIM 

THE BIBLE AS LITERATURE 

THE HOLY LAND 

THE LANGUAGES OF THE OLD TESTAMENT . 
CANON AND TEXT OF THE OLD TESTAMENT . 
THE DEVELOPMENT OF OLD TESTAMENT LITERATURE 
THE NATIONS CONTEMPORARY WITH ISRAEL , 

THE HISTORY OF ISRAEL 

THE RELIGION OF ISRAEL 

THE RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS OF ISRAEL 
THE SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS OF ISRAEL . 
WEIGHTS, MEASURES, MONEY, AND TIME 
THE CHRONOLOGY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT . 
INTRODUCTION TO THE PENTATEUCH 

GENESIS 

EXODUS 

LEVITICUS 

NUMBERS 

DEUTERONOMY 

THE HISTORICAL BOOKS OF THE OLD TESTAMENT . 

JOSHUA 

JUDGES 

RUTH 

1 AND 2 SAMUEL 

1 AND 2 KINGS . 

1 AND 2 CHRONICLES 

EZRA-NEHEMIAH 

ESTHER 

THE POETICAL AND WISDOM LITERATURE 

HEBREW WISDOM 

JOB . . . . 

PSALMS 

PROVERBS 

ECCLESIASTES 

THE SONG OF SONGS 

THE .PROPHETIC LITERATURE 



PAGE 

B. GRIFFITH JONES . 1 
W. H. HUDSON . . 18 

E. W. G. MASTERMAN . 26 
G. A. COOKE. . . 34 
J. SKINNER . . . 37 
THE EDITOR . . 44 

C. L. BEDALE . . 60 
A. H. M'NEILE . . 63 
W. G. JORDAN . . 81 
O. C. WHITEHOUSE . 98 
W. J. MOULTON . . 108 
A. R. S. KENNEDY. . 115 
THE EDITOR . .119 
J. E. CARPENTER . . 121 
THE EDITOR . .133 
G. HARFORD . . 168 
W. F. LOFTHOUSE . .196 
G. W. WADE . . 213 
T. WITTON DA VIES . 231 

F. J. FOAKES-JACKSON . 244 
S. HOLMES . . .248 
J. STRAHAN . . .256 
J. STRAHAN. . . 271 
W. H. BENNETT . . 273 
F. J. FOAKES-JACKSON . 294 
W. O. E. OESTERLEY . 314 
W. 0. E. OESTERLEY . 323 
A. DUFF . . .336 
THE EDITOR . 341 
W. T. DAVISON . . 343 
R. S. FRANKS . . 346 
W. E. ADDIS . . 366 
S. H. HOOKE . . 397 
A. J. GRIEVE . .411 
W. G. JORDAN . . 418 
THE EDITOR . . 424 



TABLE OF CONTENTS. 



OLD TESTAMENT PKOPHECY 

Al'OCALYPTIC LITERATURE 

ISAIAH I-XXXIX 

ISAIAH XL-LXVI 

JEREMIAH 

LAMENTATIONS 

EZEKIEL 

DANIEL . 

HOSEA . 

JOEL 

AMOS . 

OBADIAH 

JONAH . 

MICAH . 

NAHUM 



HABAKKUK . 

ZEPHANIAH . 

HAGGAI 

ZECHAKIAH . 

MALACHI 

THE LANGUAGE OF 



NEW 



OF THE NEW TESTAMENT LITERA- 



THE NEW TESTAMENT 

THE CANON OF THE NEW TESTAMENT . 

THE TEXT AND TEXTUAL CRITICISM OF THE 
TESTAMENT 

THE DEVELOPMENT 
TURE 

JEWISH HISTORY FROM THE MACCABEES TO THE 
DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM . 

THE ROMAN EMPIRE IN THE FIRST CENTURY 

CONTEMPORARY JEWISH RELIGION . 

PAGAN RELIGION AT THE COMING OF CHRISTIANITY 

THE RELIGIOUS BACKGROUND OF THE NEW TESTA- 
MENT WRITINGS 

ORGANISATION, CHURCH MEETINGS, DISCIPLINE, SOCIAL 
AND ETHICAL PROBLEMS . 

THE CHRONOLOGY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 

THE LIFE AND TEACHING OF JESUS 

THE SY^NOPTIC PROBLEM 

MARK . 

MATTHEW 

LUKE . 

JOHN 

THE APOSTOLIC AGE AND THE LIFE OF PAUL 

ACTS 



FAQE 

G. C. JOYCE . . .426 

H. T. ANDREWS . .431 

THE EDITOR . . 4.36 

W. L. WARDLE . . 460 
H. WHEELER ROBINSON 474 

A. DUFF . . . 496 

J. E. M 'FAD YEN . . 501 

H. T. ANDREWS . . 522 

G. H. BOX . . .534 

W. L. WARDLE . . 544 

M. A. CANNEY . . 547 
H. WHEELER ROBINSON 655 

THE EDITOR . . 556 
H. WHEELER ROBINSON 5.-i9 

A. R. GORDON . . 564 

A. R. GORDON . . 566 

A. R. GORDON . . 569 

,R. H. KENNETT . . 572 

R. H. KENNETT . . 575 

A. J. GRIEVE . . 585 

J. H. MOULTON . .591 

J. 0. F. MURRAY . . 594 

J. 0. F. MURRAY . . 598 

J. MOFFATT . . .602 



H. M. GWATKIN 

F. J. HAVERFIELD 
C. G. MONTEFIORE 

G. G. A. MURRAY 

J. V. BARTLET 

THE EDITOR 

A. J. GRIEVE 
H. G. WOOD . 

B. H. STREETER 
H. G. WOOD . 

A. J. GRIEVE 
A. J. GRIEVE 
A. E. BROOKE 

C. W. EMMET 
A. MENZIES . 



612 
61S 
627 

636 

645 
652 
659 
672 
681 
700 
724 
743 
766 
776 



TABLE OF CONTENTS. 



THE PAULINE THEOLOGY 
THE PAULINE EPISTLES . 
ROMANS 

1 CORINTHIANS .... 

2 CORINTHIANS .... 

GALATIANS 

EPHESIANS, COLOSSIANS, AND PHILEMON 



H. A. A. KENNEDY 

THE EDITOR 

G. G. FINDLAY 

THE EDITOR 

C. A. SCOTT . 

R. ^L\CKINTOSH 

A. E. J. RAWLINSON 



PHILIPPIANS W. F. ADENEY 

1 AND 2 THESSALONIANS H. T. ANDREWS 

THE PASTORAL EPISTLES. . . . . . H. BISSEKER 

HEBREWS , . . E. F. SCOTT . 

THE CATHOLIC EPISTLES A. J. GRIEVE 

JAMES J. H. MOULTON 

1 PETER G. CURRIE MARTIN 

2 PETER R. BROOK 

1 JOHN A. L. HUMPHRIES 

2 JOHN A. L. HUMPHRIES 

3 JOHN A. L. HUMPHRIES 

JUDE R. BROOK 

REVELATION H. T. ANDREWS 

GENERAL BIBLIOGRAPHIES THE EDITOR 



xvu 

PAGE 

805 
814 
817 
8.32 
849 
657 
862 
872 
876 



901 
903 
908 
913 
916 
921 
922 
923 
926 
945 



ABBREVIATIONS 
INDEX . 
MAPS . 



XX 

947 
end 



EXPLANATIONS AND SUGGESTIONS. 

IT is assumed that those who study this volume will use with it the Revised Version. 
Care should be taken to secure an edition in which the marginal renderings are 
included, since these are frequently to be preferred and constant reference is made to 
them in the Commentary. The Revised Version has been chosen since, whatever its 
merits or defects in other respects may be, it is undeniably much more accurate in the 
main than the Authorised Version, and therefore much better fitted for the student's 
purpose. 

The work presupposes the modem critical view of the Bible. Those who are un- 
familiar with it are recommended to read the first article in the volume for a summary 
statement of it. Other articles furnish more detailed information on special branches of 
the subject. 

Those who wish to make a thorough study of the volume would do well to work 
through the articles prefixed to the Old Testament portion before taking up the Old 
Testament commentaries, and similarly with the New Testament. They would thus gain 
that knowledge of background and atmosphere which would give far fuller meaning to the 
study of the different books. And those who are working on particular books would find 
it helpful to read the articles or sections of articles relevant to them. 

In accordance with the principle that the paragraph rather than the verse is the unit 
of exposition, the explanation of an individual verse must in many ca-ses be sought in the 
exposition of the paragraph in which it occurs, not in the detached notes that follow, 
though further information or discussion may be found in these. Owing to the great 
difficulties which the text often presents, and the limitations of space, it has been im- 
possible to explain everything ; in these cases larger works must be consulted. But 
great labour has been spent on the cross-referencing, and students are earnestly recom- 
mended to avail themselves of the further information to which they are thus directed. 
Reference is given either to the page or else to the book, chapter, and verse in the note 
on which the information is to be found. In the latter case an asterisk follows the 
chapter and verse reference : thus Jer. 82 * means, " See the note on the second verse of 
the eighth chapter of Jeremiah." The usual notation for chapter and verse is, as will be 
seen from this example, a large Arabic numeral for the chapter, a small Arabic numeral 
for the verse. When clarendon type is used the notation is large Roman numerals for 
the chapter, large Arabic numerals for the verse (VI 11. 2). In the references printed at 
the top of the page, that on the left-hand page indicates the point at which the page 
begins, that on the right-hand page the point where it ends. 



EXPLANATIONS AND SUGGESTIONS. xix 

To save space numerous abbreviations have been employed. A list of these, with 
explanations, is given on page xx. 

Immense labour has been spent on the Index, in the hope that students will be able, 
not merely to turn up references quickly, but to collect the information on any particular 
subject which is scattered through the volume. The greatest pains have been taken by 
the Editor and his secretary, with the help of Professor Wardle, to secure accuracy by 
checking of the references in detail ; but in such a multitude of figures they fear that 
some errors may have escaped detection. 

Much attention has also been devoted to the preparation of the bibliographies. These 
include foreign as well as English books, since the needs of theological students have been 
kept in mind, and it is hoped that their teachers may find the lists convenient for refer- 
ence in lectures. In the case of the commentaries, the bibliographies are classified as 
follows : (a) Commentaries in English on the English text ; (6) Commentaries in English 
on the original text ; (c) Foreign commentaries (whei'e these have been translated into 
English an asterisk has been pi'efixed to the author's name) ; (d) Expository or devotional 
works. Editions are indicated by the addition of a small Arabic numeral at the right- 
hand top corner : thus Robertson Smith, RS", means the second edition of Robertson 
Smith's Religion of the Semites. Clarendon type means that a book is specially 
recommended. 

No rigid uniformity has been enforced in the spelling of proper names, since the 
Editor felt it desirable to leave contributors as free as possible in this matter. Thus side 
by side with the more correct form Nebuchadrezzar, the more popular form Nebuchadnezzar 
has been retained, as in the Revised Version. The same principle has been observed in 
transliteration from Hebrew. 



ABBREVIATIONS 



The Books of the Bible arc referred to as follows : 

Old Testaitient.— den., Ex., Lev., Nu., Dt., Jos., Jg., Ru., 1 S., 2 S., 1 K., 2 K., i Ch., 2 Ch., 
Ezr., Neh., Est., Job, Ps., Pr., Ec, Ca., Is., Jor., Lam., Ezek., Dan., Hos., Jl., Am., Ob., Jon., Mi., 
Nah., Hab., Zeph., Hag., Zech., Mai. 

Apocrypha. — 1 Esd., 2 Esd., Tob., Judith, Ad. Est., Wisd., Ecclus., Bar., Song of the Three 
Children, Sua., Bel, Man., 1 Mac., 2 Mac. 

New Testament.— Ut., Mk., Lk., Jn., Ac, Rom., 1 Cor., 2 Cor., Gal., Eph., Phil., Col., 1 Th., 
2 Th., 1 Tim., 2 Tim., Tit., Phm., Heb., Jas., 1 P., 2 P., 1 Jn., 2 Jn., 3 Jn., Jude, Rev. 

And following verses, chapters, or pp. 

Greek. 

Hand-commeiUar zttm N. T. 

Hastings' Dictionary of (he Bible. 

Hebrew. 

Hexateuch. 

Handkommentar zum A . T. 

Lietzniann, Handbuch zum N. T. 

Hastings' One Volume Dictionary of 
the Bible. 

International Critical Commentary. 

International Handbooks to the N. T. 

Introduction to the New Testament. 

The Interpreter. 

Introduction to the Old Testament. 

Journal of Theological Studie-t. 

KuTzgefassten exegetiaches Handbuch. 

Kurzes Handcommenfar. 

Kwzgtfasster Kommentar zn dtn 
heiligen Schrijien Alien tind Neiien 
TedamenteK. 

literal, literally. 

The Septuagint. 

Meyer, Kommentar iiber das jV. T, 

margin. 

Massoretic Text. 

New Testament. 

New Testament Theology. 

Old Testament. 

7V/e 0. T. in the Jewish Church. 

Old Testament Theology. 



ad Inr . 


. on the pas.sage. 


fr. 




ANF 


. AnteNiceue Fathers. 


Gr. . 


Aram. . 


. Aramaic. 


HC . 


Assy. . 


. Ass3'rian. 


HDB . 


AV 


. Authorised Version. 


Heb. . 


Bab. 


. Babylonian. 


Hex. . 


BDB . 


. Brown, Driver, Briggs, Hebrew Lexi- 


HK . 




con. 


HNT . 


c. 


. about. 


HSDB . 


CB . 


. The Cambridge Bible. 




Cent.B 


. The Ctiitnry Bible. 


ICC . 


cf . 


. compare. 


IH . 


CGT . 


. Gam})ridge Greek Testament. 


INT . 


ch. 


. chapter. 


Inter. . 


CH . 


. Code of Hammurabi. 


lOT . 


CQR 


. Church Quarterly Review. 


JTh.S . 


UAC 


. Dictionary of the Aj)Ostolic Church. 


KEH . 


DB 


X .Dictionary of the Bible. 


KHC . 


DCG 


r. Dictionary of Christ and the Oospels. 


KHS . 


EB 


Encyclopcedia Britannica. 




EBi 


EnrychjJtedin Biblica. 




e.g. 


for example. 


lit. 


EOT 


. Expositor's Greek Testament. 


LXX. 




ERE 


. Encyclopaedia of Religion aud Ethics. 


Mey. 




ET 


. The Expository Times. 


mg. 




E.tr. 


. English translation. 


MT 




Eus. 


. Eusebius of Cicsarca. 


NT 




EV 


English Version. 


NTT 




Ex.B 


. Expositor's Bible. 


OT 




Exp. 


. The Expositor. 


OTJC 




f. 


. And following verse, chapter, or page. 


OTT 





ABBREVIATIONS. 



PC . . Pulpit Commentary. 

p., pp. . page, pages. 

PSBA . . Proceedings of the Society of Biblical 
Archa:olo(jy. 

R. . . Redactor or editor. 

RS . . The Religion of the Semites. 

RTP . . Revieiv of Theology and Philosophy. 

RV . . Revised Version. 

RVm . . Revised Version margin. 

Sam. . . Samaritan. 

SAT . . Die Schriften des Alien Testaments. 

SBOT ( Eug . ) The Sacred Books of the Old Testament, 
English Translation (The Poly- 
chrome Bible). 

SBOT (Heb. ) The Sacred Books of the Old Testament 
(Hebrew Text). 

The usual symbols for documents, J, E, JE, D, P, H, in the Hexateuch, Q in the Synoptists, are 
employed. See for an explanation of these the articles on The Pentateuch and The Synoptic Problem. 

Divisions of verses are indicated by the addition to the number of a and h. Thus i66 means the 
aecond half of verse i6. Occasionally c and d may also be used. 



SDB . 


. Smith's Dictionary of the Bible. 


SNT . 


. J. Weiss, Die Schriften des N. T. 


Sp. . 


. Speaker's Commentary. 


Syr. . 


. Syriac Version. 


TR . 


. Textus Receptus. 


v., vv., 


. verse, verses. 


VSS . 


. Versions. 


Vulg. . 


. Vulgate. 


West.C 


. Westminster Commentaries. 


WH . 


. Westcott and Hort, The New Testa 




ment in Greek. 


WNT . 


. Westminster Neiv Testament. 


ZK . 


. Zahn, Commentar zum Neuen Testa- 




ment. 


ZNTW 


. Zeitschrift fiir die ncutestamentliche 




Wissenschaft. 



CORRIGENDA. 



Page and . i,,e 
Column. ^'"^• 

2906 52-54 For 



"will be due to confusion with Abigail, wife of Nahash, and 
perhaps also," substitute "may perhaps be partly due." 
5236 4 3 For "the man and the he-goat," substitute "the ram and the 

he-goat." 
The following corrections should also be made: — 3066, "5" for "5" in last line 
but one from bottom; 352a, line 1, "man's life"; 383f, in page headings, "Psalms 
LXI. 26" ; 509a, line 23, Ex. B ; 524a, line 13, Onias III. ; 677a, transpose "Concern- 
ing Offences " and " Lost Sheep " under both Luke's Order and Matthew's Order. 



THE BIBLE: ITS MEANING AND AIM 



By Principal E. GRIFFITH-JONES 



' If thou art merry, here are airs, 
U melancholy, here are prayers ; 
It atudious, here are those thluga writ 
Which may deserve thy ablest wit ; 
If hungry, here is food divine ; 
If thirsty, nectar, heavenly wine. 

Eead then, but first thyself prepare 
To read with zeal and mark with care : 
And when thou read'st what here is writ. 
Let thy best practice second it ; 
So twice each precept writ should be. 
First hi the Book, and then in thee." 



If Carlyle s dictum be true, that " of all things which 
men do make here below, by far the most momentous, 
wonderful, and worthy are the things called books," 
we may say with confidence that the greatest of 
human achievements is the Bible, which, in virtue of 
its pre-eminence, has come to be called the Book. It 
was written thousands of years ago by men belonging 
to an alien land and civihsation, many of them anony- 
mous, and none of them scholars in the modem sense 
of the term ; yet is its message still vital, its words 
full of glow and power. There was no collusion be- 
tween its writers, whose lives stretch over a period 
of a thousand years, but there is a unity of purpose 
running through its multifarious contents which no 
reverent reader fails to grasp. It is a compendium of 
the literature of a little people, obscure in origin, 
hmited in outlook, often questionable in morals, but 
charged with a mission and message for humanity at 
large whose significance has deepened with the lapse 
of ages, and whose influence is still the profoundest 
and most far-reaching in the whole world. It is 
circulated more widely, read more eagerlj^ to-day than 
ever ; and it is no exaggeration to say that the ulti- 
mate destiny of the race will be vitally affected by 
its attitude to the Bible in the ages to come. Without 
aflirming for a moment that this Book makes other 
books superfluous, we can say that this is the Book 
which could be least spared of all that have challenged 
the intellect, subdued the heart, and inspired the will 
of mankind to high thinking and noble doing. It is 
the vade mecum of pilgrim man on his journey through 
time into eternity. Therefore it is a book to be read, 
marked, learned, and inwardly digested by all who 
desire to hve a tnie hfe, and who are lovers of their 
kind. 

I 

What is the source of this unique influenoe ? The 
Becrct is manifold, but there is one all-controlhng 
characteristic that may be put into a sentence. Im- 
plicitly or exphcitly it always and everywhere deals 
with the soul of man in its relations with the Living 
God. It registers on the one side the progressive 
outroaoh of the soul in the various stages and moods 
of its search for God ; and on the other, it unfolds 
the gradual self-manifestation of God in His revealing 



and redeeming power on behalf of Man. The Bible 
is a record of the process by which formless matter, 
energised and vitalised, became the organism of the 
redeemed soul, filled with all the fullness of Christ. 
If any man desires to know his own heart in all its 
possibilities of glorj' and shame, if he desires to know 
God in all the grandeur of His nature and the far- 
reaching grasp of His love, let him read and master 
this book. And if he will then bring together into 
the unity of his own hfe what he here learns of 
himself, and what he learns of God, it will make 
him " wise unto salvation." 

Let us consider in a little more detail this twofold 
aspect of the Bible. It reveals man to himself as a 
seeker after God. We have in this book a wonderful 
variety of hterature — myth and legend, history and 
fiction, poetry and drama, idyll and allegory, record 
and prophecy. Its gallery of portraits comprises king 
and beggar, wise man and fool, rich and poor, saint 
and villain, oppressor and slave, hero and wastrel, 
dreamer and doer, each reveahng (sometimes in a 
single phrase) his distinctive quaUty, and unfolding 
his destiny according to his kind. The philosopher is 
here, wrestling with the dark problems of existence, 
sometimes lost in perplexity, sometimes radiant with 
vision ; the poet is here, weaving into sentences of 
simple but matchless beautj- the longings, discoveries, 
aspirations of the soul as he grasps the " flying ves- 
ture " of God ; the prophet is here, gazing at the 
passing glory of the Most High, or brooding in sorrow 
over the pathos of man's blindness and sin ; the 
historian is here, imfolding the significance of past 
events, and pointing the moral of the achievements 
or failures of older times for his own day. We have 
pictures of family hfe in its homely relations — the 
bii-th of little oliildren, the love of youth and maiden, 
the sorrows and joys of married life, the tragedy of 
broken hearts, the happiness of renewed relations, the 
sadness of the inevitable end. Often too we come on 
the shock of battle, the agony of defeat, the shout of 
victory, and we see empires pass in pomp or shame 
across the stage, now rising into power, now fading 
into nothingness. There is no typical experience of 
human life that is not somewhere mirrored in these 
living pages ; virtues and vices are chronicled with 
finn, impartial touch ; the sweetness of life, and its 
unutterable bitterness, find their full expression. 

Studying the Bible is thus only another way of 
studying life itself, and always in its spiritual relations. 
This crowded assemblage of figures, when their varied 
impressions are blended into one composite picture, 
reveal the human soul in its littleness and grandeur, 
its sin and saintliness, its depths of shame, its heigl'' 
of possibility. He must be a dull reader who, ^ 
mastered the Bible, fails to see himself son- 
it — as he is, and as he ought to be. 
This, however, is but the lesser h^' 



THE BIBLE: ITS MEANING AND AIM 



of the Bible. Its central figure is not man, btit God. 
Open it where we will, we always find ourselves in 
the Holy Presenoe. It is the stTjry of an unfokhng 
vision, of a gradually oompletcii movement of the 
Divine self-manifestation. The stnioture of the Bible 
as it has come down to us masks the gradual character 
of that prooe-ss. The most primitive portions of its 
literature are embedded in a ma.s3 of later editorial 
matter, and the true chronological order of its parts 
has only comparatively recently been disentangled 
from a bewildering multiplicity of documents. It has 
taken over a century of laborious research on the part 
of an army of devoted scholars to recover the his- 
torical perspective of this revelation, but the task is 
now almost complete. This discovery has thrown a 
wonderful light on the slow but steady method by 
which God manifested His character in the events of 
Hebrew liistory, and through its outstanding per- 
sonalities. The later editors may have used the annals 
of their race uncritically, and here and there may have 
mistaken legend for historj-, and mj-th for fact ; but 
what is evident at each step is that their one interest 
was to review the past story of the world in the light 
of God's providential sovereignty in nature, and of 
His redeeming grace in His dealings with mankind, 
and more especially with His " chosen people." We 
do not go to the Bible for science, for in science we 
deal with secondary causes only, and here these have 
no place ; and we do not go to it for history in the 
ordinary sense of the word, since history deals with 
events in their purely human aspects. Nature in the 
Bible is always viewed as Gods handiwork, the fruit 
of His immediate creative power, the scene of His 
personal acti\-ity, the means whereby He brings His 
providential ends to pass. Man is His child, the 
object of His peculiar care, to whom He has entrusted 
a special function of lordship over the world, and 
from whom He has great e.rpectations. But man has 
sinned and gone astray from his true path. Even 
with the chosen race He 1ms again and again been 
disappointed ; nevertheless, He has used it as His 
special channel for the revelation of His nature, for 
the progressive unfolding of His redemptive purpose ; 
even its failures and sins have but furnished Him 
with fresh opportunities for the manifestation of His 
power and grace. It is characteristic of the OT Avriters 
that they never fail to use the dark background of 
human depravity to throw up the ever-brightening 

S'cture of the I)i\'ine perfections, and especially to 
ustrate Gods unfaiUng faithfulness. \Vhen we cross 
the threshold of the NT, we are in a different environ- 
ment, and are planted more securely on the authentic 
rook of history ; but the same commanding interest 
is still with us. We are ever dealing with the redeem- 
ing God ; but " all the hght of sacred story " is here 
oonoentrated in a single Personality, in whom dwells 
the " fullness of the Godhead bodily,' and from whom 
the old redeeming energies now radiate out to all the 
world. First we have four vivid portraits of Jesus 
Christ, Son of God, Son of Man, in which the very 
aioma of His pcisonal presence still lingers. We catch 
a glimpse of Him in His gentle j-outh, silently preparing 
for His great mission ; we see Him in the fullness of 
'^s mmihood entering on His public vocation as 
' et. Healer, Wonder-worker ; we watch Him 
liis heavenly ethic, preaching the gospel of 
"v training the Twelve, healing the sick, 
"- opening the door of hope to the 
*A the Ughts and shadows of the 
^ " " as His life moves to its 
we stand beside the 






Cross and hear His bitter cry as He gives up the 
ghost ; we share in the glory of the resurrection 
morning. Then we witness the descent of the Spirit 
at Pentecost ; the birth of the Christian Church ; the 
rapid spread of the Gospel message in far-scattered 
communities throughout the Roman Empire. Finally 
in a collection of apostoho letters, the cosmic signifi- 
cance of the Incarnation is unfolded, and the sure 
triumph of God's redemptive purjxjse is foreshadowed. 
So the agelong process is complete, and the Gospel of 
the grace of God is launched on its historic career. 

n 

These are the fundamental aspects of the Bible, 
stated broadly and without qualification. It brings 
man near to God ; it brings God home to man. And 
this it does whatever theory we may have of its origin, 
its nature, its method of appeal. 

The Bible, however, needs to be understood in all 
the.se directions if it is to do its perfect work with ub. 
And it is not an easy book to understand. If its 
appeal to the heart is simple, its challenge to the 
intellect is complex. From whatever side we approach 
it, we are met by bristUng problems. How to under- 
stand the Bible has been a perennial question for 
devout minds. Probably more earnest study has been 
given to this matter, and more intellectual effort has 
been expended upon it, than on any other that has 
ever been presented to the attention of civilised man. 
The history of Bibhcal interpretation is in a very real 
sense the history of the human mind itself since the 
Bible was written. And to-day we are passing through 
a profound revolution in our attitude towards this 
wonderful Book. Modem scholarship has attacked its 
problems from a fresh standpoint, has discovered new 
facts as to its origin, its composition, its authorship, 
its gradual growth from the first nucleus to the com- 
pleted volume, and has set its contents in a new 
perspective. The Bible of the twentieth century is a 
new book, needing a new treatment, and a new attitude 
of mind in order rightly to value its message. 

If we would underetand how all this has come 
about, we must hnk it with a profound change in 
man's conception of the universe. The birth of what 
is called the " modem mind " is really the birth of 
a new method of approaching reahty. In ancient and 
medieval times, the method of inquiry was a priori. 
By this is meant that men endeavoured to harmonise 
facts with certain preconceived categories of thought, 
which ruled them with unconscious but rigorous 
tyranny, and with which all fresh knowledge must 
somehow be made to harmonise. Facts which refused 
to bend to this process were either rejected or else 
forced somehow into the general scheme of thought. 
This was tme of philosophy and science, and pre- 
eminently of theology. Those who ventured to ques- 
tion current assumptions, and to formulate fresh 
schemes more in harmony with newly-discovered facts, 
were hardly dealt with, and if they persisted, were 
treated as heretics and outcasts, and were imprisoned, 
tortured, even slain without pity. Gradually, how- 
ever, this rigorous uniformity of belief in all realms 
of knowledge broke down under the obstinate and 
ever-increasing pressure of a new method of inquiry — 
the a posteriori. By this is meant the rejection of 
preconceived ideas, and the study of facts in and for 
themselves as a preliminary to formulating their laws — 
to deduce theories from an examination of facts, and 
not bend facts to suit accepted theories. This is a 
simple thing to say ; but it involved nothing less them 



THE BIBLE: ITS MEANING AND AIM 



3 



a fundamental change in every department of thought. 
In the first place, it put the inquirer into a new re- 
lation to reality ; it made him Nature's pupil, not her 
master ; it changed prejudice into teachableness, and 
opened a new and fascinating vista of inquiry in every 
direction. In the second place, man began to under- 
stand the world better, and his control over the forces 
and processes of Nature began to extend in a magical 
way. The method, in a word, was justified by its 
results, and to-day no sound tliinker doubts that the 
pathway to truth and power lies in this direction. 
Consequently the method has been applied all round, 
and modem science stands forth as a monument of 
the enterprise, receptivity, and patience of the human 
mind. No theorising till we have the facts to theorise 
about ; and as fresh facts pour into view, a rigorous 
re-examination and rebuilding of existing theories in 
the light of these facts — such is the modem way of 
thinking. It has encountered many difficulties and 
pitfalls ; it has often been led into" bUnd alleys and 
has had to retrace its stej>3 ; it is constantly revising 
its conclusions, and making fresh ventures, which do 
not alwaj'S prove fruitful ; but the principle has now 
become a>domatic, as the only legitimate and sure 
method of extending the bounds of knowledge. Modern 
Biblical Science is the result of applying this instru- 
ment of inquiry to the facts of the Bible. It is based 
on the a posteriori as distinguished from the old a priori 
method of dealing with it. In no department of 
thought has the new method had to fight so hard for 
foothold ; in none has the old been so obstinately 
defended ; in none have the issues been so momentous, 
or the victory more complete. 

We must not be hard oh the tenacity and even 
obstinacy of those who felt themselves called upon to 
fight against the modem view of the Bible. If their 
judgment was at fault, their motives were of the highest. 
Religion is the most precious possession of man ; it 
finds him in the elemental, changeless region of his 
being ; and anything that endangers its interests 
must at all costs be resisted and overcome. Now, just 
because religion appeals to the permanent elements in 
man's nature, it is difficult to avoid identifying it 
with the special forms in which it is embodied. Conse- 
quently, when we are called to give up any of our 
religious conceptions, we are prone to believe that 
religion itself is in danger. Thus, however open-minded 
and liberal we may be in other matters, we are all 
apt to become conservatives in rehgion. A creed, 
once formulated, tends to become fossiUsed, and to 
entrench itself behind a rampart of sacred affections 
and time-honoured traditions. Progress in reUgious 
thought is slow and painful. It is no wonder that this 
has been specially the case with men's thoughts about 
the Bible — the most precious volume in the religious 
literature of the race. But, if the progress of Biblical 
Science has been slow, it has been inevitable. The 
very love of truth which the Bible has been the chief 
means of propagating, has made it impossible to hold 
back the movement ; once fairly begun, it could not 
but come to ite own at last. 

Ill 

Let us consider in the first place the change that 
has become necessary in our ideas of the inspiration 
of the Bible, of the revelation contained in it, and of 
ita supreme authcrity. 

1. For many centuries, almost indeed from the most 
primitive times, the Bible was held by nearly all 
Christian thinkers to be inspired in form as well as in 



substance. This idea was inherited from the Rabbis, 
who held a similar theory concerning the Old Testa- 
ment. There seems to be a tendency in all religions 
possessing a sacred htcrature to ascribe the origin of 
that literature to inspiration, i.e. to the " inbreathing " 
or influence of the Divine Spirit. The Vedas, the 
teachings of Zoroaster and of some Buddhists, the 
Koran, are all beUeved by their votaries to have pro- 
ceeded from a Divine source. The Brahmins even 
believe that the Vedas existed from all eternity. There 
must be some inherent reason for ideas so widespread. 
It has been suggested (doubtless with some truth) 
that they are the result of a priori theories as to what 
a Divinely-inspired book must have been. We prefer 
to beUcve that the reason is fundamentally religious 
rather than intellectual, and to find in all theories of 
inspiration an instinctive tribute to the quahty of the 
writings themselves. It was felt that what proved to 
be so inspiring must have been Divinely inspired. To 
what extent, and in what way, would be formulated 
later by reflection. The slow and tentative manner 
in which the Canon of both the OT and the NT was 
formed favours this view. As regards our Bible, at 
any rate (whatever be the case with other sacred books), 
the various parts found their way into recognition by 
a process of selection and exclusion which took cen- 
turies to complete — a fact which suggests a law of 
survival very similar to that discovered by Darwin in 
the organic world. No infallible test was appHcable, 
but those writings were finally included which were 
found in experience to bear the authentic marks of 
inspiration. (See pp. 39f.) 

It is not the fact of inspiration, however, that is in 
dispute, but its cluxracter and method. How far, for 
instance, are we to attribute inspiration to the form 
as well as the substance of Scripture ? Christian 
thinkers have not been agreed on this point. Some 
have boldly affirmed the '" mechanical " or " dicta^ 
tion " theory of verbal inspiration, which means that 
every word in the Bible represents the mind of Grod 
as perfectly as though He had written it Himself, the 
actual author being not so much the " pen-man " as 
the " pen " of the Holy Spirit. This idea is really 
self-contradictory, for there can be no question of 
inspiration if the writer is the mere mechanical instru- 
ment of Divinity. It is also quite incompatible with 
the facts presented by the Bible itself. The various 
books, and many portions of certain books, are written 
in a style so varied and characteristic as to suggest 
irresistibly the personal idiosyncrasies of different 
writers. No one, e.g., can fail to recognise the very 
different style of Chronicles from that of Kings, or 
to distinguish the peculiar note of Jeremiah from that 
of Amos. Scholars have been able to detect four 
main currents of writing in the Pentateuch, and the 
hands of several editors or redactors. Further, in no 
part of Scripture is this claim to verbal inspiration 
made. " The authors, instead of being passive re- 
cipients of information and ideas and feelings, represent 
themselves as active, deliberating, laborious, intensely 
interested," In many cases they base their own 
version of events on pre\aou3 (now lost) writings, 
Luke claims to have made a careful and critical use 
of his sources, very much after the manner of the 
scientific historians of to-day. As has been aptly 
pointed out, " When St. Paul in 2 Cor. 11 17 says, 
' That which I speak I speak not after the Lord, but 
as in foolishness, in the confidence of boasting,' it ia 
intelligible to say that an inspiretl man is speaking ; 
it is not intelligible to say that it is God sjieaking." 
This theory again is incompatible with the way in 



THE BIBLE: ITS MEANING AND AIM 



which the NT writers quoto from the OT. Out of 
275 quotations it has been found that there are only 
53 in which the Hebrew, the Septuagint (or Greek 
version of the OT ) and the NT writers verbally agree ; 
there are 99 in which the NT quotation differs from 
both (which also differ from one another), and 76 in 
which the correct Septuagint rendering has been 
wrongly altered. This is quite incompatible with the 
position that all the words of Scripture are equally 
inspired ; for can we believe that the Holy Spirit 
would misquote Himself ? But there Ls a more con- 
clusive argument still against such a theory ; for we 
have no final and unquestionable text of Holy Scrip^ 
tare to which we can turn as the original version. The 
original manuscripts have long since perished. Our 
existing MSS differ greatly, in various complicated 
ways, and while we are practically certain of the sense 
of most passages, we often cannot be sure which of 
several or many variants is nearest the original in its 
exact wording. In view of these unquestionable facts, 
it is futile to affirm any longer the verbally-inspired 
character of the Bible, and those who would " save 
their faces " by suggesting this of the lost original text 
are doing small honour to the Holy Spirit, for if it 
was worth while working a miracle to produce such a 
text, why was not a miracle wrought to preserve it 
from corruption ? 

The dynamical theory of inspiration transfers the 
problem from the form of the Bible as literature to 
the personalities of the writers. It suggests in the 
first place that they weie selected in virtue of possess- 
ing certain qualities which made them apt subjects 
for inspiration, and secondly that their human powers 
were dominated and safeguarded by Di\'ine influence 
from error in the fulfilment of their function. Such 
imperfections and errors in Scripture as could not be 
denied were thus of human origin ; the subject-matter 
only was Divine. This theory escapes many of the 
difficulties of the previous one, but in its crude forms 
it lands us in hopeless psj'chological problems. How 
are we to conceive of the method by which a writer 
was ensured of infaUibility in one sentence while the 
next was manifestly erroneous ? In doubtful cases, 
how are we to distinguish the one stage from the other ? 
And what was the precise relation between the Divine 
Spirit and the human in such a process ? There is, 
however, an element of truth in this view. There are 
diversities of gifts among good men in spiritual as well 
as intellectual functions, and be the inspiration where 
it may, it must be held to have some relation to the 
personaUty of its medium. And it is easy to recognise 
that some of the Biblical writers are habitually nearer 
the centre of spiritual reality than others, more sensitive 
to the influence of the Divine Spirit, and better fitted 
for the expression of religious truth. Also it is quite 
in analogy w ith other facts to believe that a real vision 
of God may be compatible with imperfect knowledge 
of facts and events, and that a true point of view 
may co-exist with much intellectual error and con- 
fusion. The artist may not be a good historian ; the 
seer may be a poor logician. And it is quite consistent 
to hold that a man may be truly inspired though he 
may be fallible in the way he delivers himself of his 
message. When it is said, " Men spake from God, as 
they were moved by the Holy Ghost," we are not 
bound to believe that the ordinary laws of thought 
and hmitations of personality were suspended during 
the process. The truth may have taken on the colour 
of the speaker's temperament and individuality, and 
so bo more or less distorted in expression, without 
losing its Divine quality. With these qualifications 



it is in accordance with the facta to apeak of the 
writers of Scripture as ' inspired men." The Holy 
Spirit did not fail of His purpose because His instru- 
ments of revelation were fallible though supremely 
gifted souls. They were what may be called rehgious 
geniuses, who co-operated actively in the spiritual 
function for which they were chosen. As Professor 
Peake puts it, " This is not to minimise the Divine 
element in the creation of Scripture. On the contrary, 
it enhances it. Just as the Spirit of GckI was at work 
in the history of Israel, preparing a fruitful soil for 
revelation, so too He was active in the creation of the 
efficient medium through which He imparted the 
revelation itself." (The Bible: Its Origin, Its Signi- 
ficance, and Its Abiding Worth, p. 395f.) 

rv 

Revelation and inspiration are co-ordinate terms. 
The former denotes the unfolding knowledge of Gods 
nature and saving purpose ; the latter, the means 
and methods by which that knowledge has been 
achieved. " The action of Ood on the nature of man 
we may call ' inspiration ' ; its result, the perfected 
and purified consciousness of self and the world, and 
God, is ' revelation ' " (Garvie). As regards the Bible, 
the deposit of spiritual truth which it contains, consti- 
tutes its revelation ; the characteristic spiritual quahty 
of the writers and, secondarily, of the literature through 
which this has come to us, we call their inspiration. 

The old view of revelation was that it was to bo 
found in the substance of Scripture throughout its 
course without distinction or difference. Theologically 
this made the Bible a storehouse of texts and passages, 
any one of which could be quoted with equal appro- 
priateness in the upbuilding of doctrine. In a book 
of such varied contents and of so many diverse points 
of view, it was thus possible by a careful selection 
of proof-texts to formulate any number of diverse and 
incompatible theological constructions, especially when 
the hterary context and historical setting of the books 
whence these texts were drawn were ignored, as was 
generally the case. Calvinist and Anninian, Trini- 
tarian and Socinian, Swedenborgian and Latter-day 
Saint, Universalist and Particularist, drew their credal 
systems from the same source ; they each and all 
claimed scriptural authority for the result ; and there 
was no objective standard or norm of interpretation 
which could be appealed to in settling their rival 
claims to acceptance. The breaking up of the Protes- 
tant world into the innumerable sects and systems 
of thought which characterised the seventeenth, 
eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries was mainly due 
to this conception of the Bible as throughout a homo- 
geneous and ecjually authoritative body of truth con- 
cerning God, Man, and the Worid, the interpretation 
of which must be left to individual judgment. 

ReUgiously, while this theory of revelation helped 
to place the Bible on a pedestal of sanctity and 
authority over human life which had its beneficent 
side, it had other baleful results. Fortunately the 
NT so clearly showed that the OT sj-stem of religious 
ordinances was superseded by the later and more 
spiritual developments of revelation that a certain 
Uniit was put at the outset to the binding character 
of OT regulations. But in other directions the " hard " 
view of Scripture made for rigidity of conduct and 
character, and exercised a painful tyranny over weak 
consciences. It turned customs of ancient times into 
rules for modem everyday life to which they were 
manifestly inappropriate. The Puritan Sunday was 



THE BIBLE: ITS MEANING AND AIM 



really a substitution of the rigid Jewisli Sabbath (and 
that a travesty) for the free spiritual conception of the 
Lord's Day. The words of Scripture were used as 
oracles for the determination of moral problems and 
difficult situations. Verses chosen in a haphazard way 
were dealt with as magical formuiaj settling problems of 
conduct. The very Gospel of Jesus was superetitiously 
made into a textbook from which to read the dark 
future. When a bishop had to be elected in the sixth 
century, church officials almost always consulted the 
Psalter (!) first, on behalf of the man to be elected. 
Bible verses written on parchment were attached to 
easy chairs in order to keep away evil spirits ; little 
Gospels were hung round the necks of babies to ward 
off impending evil. And even in modem times the 
rightful reverence felt for the Bible by devout souls 
has often been travestied by this tendency to resort 
to it as a storehovise of magical charms. More terrible 
still was the abuse of Scripture in its references to 
witchcraft. Religious persecution has scarcely a darker 
page than the treatment meted out to wizards and 
witches in mediaeval times — mainly on the " autho- 
rity " of Scripture. Not only were those suspected 
of practising the Black Art tortured, but no limit was 
placed on the amount or kind of torture to which the 
unhappy victims were subjected, as was done in the 
case of heretics. The false confessions made by these 
victims under the stress of unbearable agony gave a 
factitious colour to the accusation, and graduaUy built 
up a system of superstition on this subject fromwhich 
the rehgious world has only recently emerged. Scarcely 
less sorrowful has been the attempted justification for 
slavery drawn from the patriarchal and later custom 
in Bibhcal times, and more especially from Noah's 
curse on Canaan (Gen. 925*). It was forgotten that 
slavery among the Hebrews was a very different and 
far more humane institution than in any adjoining 
nation, or even in modem times ; and that Christian 
ministers should have been found in the Southern 
States of America during the Civil War who justified 
the horrible custom on Biblical grounds, is one of the 
saddest results in history of a perverted theory of 
Scripture. 

The mechanical theory of revelation has had still 
other unfortunate and mischievous results. One of 
these is the use of the Bible as a " book of puzzles " 
as regards future events. Periodicals are still published 
which occasionally draw up apocalyptic programmes 
where the fate of modem nations and of the race is 
foreshadowed with a confidence rivalled only by their 
futility. It is one of the marvels of religious psychology 
that this practice has survived so many refutations, 
but it is happily clear that its day is nearly done. 
We can no longer believe that the vivid pictures of 
future destiny in the apocalyptic hterature of the 
Bible have any reference to the Europe of the twentieth 
century, or can serve as a guide in foretelling the de- 
velopment of events in the centuries to come. How 
many fears and terrors in mediieval and later times 
would have been spared the soul of man, if the key 
to this literature had been discovered earlier ! 

Perhaps, however, it is in the inhibiting influence 
exercised by this conception of revelation on the pro- 
gress of scientific thought that its most practical effect 
is seen. Take the science of history. So long as the 
literal, matter-of-fact interpretation of Scripture was 
universally held, it was impossible for Christian thinkers 
to approach extra-Biblical records of the jwst witii 
anything like independence of judgment. For 
mediaeval thinkers history began in heaven when the 
Uoly Trinity conceived the idea of creation, and ended 



in heaven with the Last Judgment. The stages of 
this history are given in the Bible from Genesis on, 
the whole account being accepted as hterally true. 
Round this vertebral column were entwined ail kinds 
of apocryphal legends and mythical embellishments 
guaranteed by the Church as valid history, which no 
one was permitted to question on pain of torture and 
excommunication. Associated with this mass of 
superstitious nonsense was a crude cosmology equally 
authoritative and futile. The universe was an edifice 
of three floors — the heaven above, a compact dome 
in which the stars were fixed, while the planets moved 
in their own sphere ; higher was the region where 
the Holy Trinity dwelt, surrounded and adored by a 
countless multitude of angels whose business it was to 
keep heaven and earth in constant communication ; 
below was the earth itself, a large round plane, " the 
centre of which was Jerusalem, where, in the same 
place, Adam was buried and Christ was cmcified, so 
that the blood of the Saviour dropped into the skull 
of Adam " ; below the earth was the great dark 
dungeon called hell, the home of the de-vil and his 
angels, who competed with the angels for the soul of 
man, and where the various types of departed sinners 
worked out their eternal destiny in varying depths 
of woe. 

Such was the grotesque view of history and cosmology 
based on the scriptural account of heaven, earth, and 
man, which for a thousand years formed the working 
background of men's thoughts of the universe, and 
which for centuries resisted attack. It is not till a 
period within Uving memory that this artificial but 
obstinate scheme of things finally broke down under 
the impact of advancing science. The path of know- 
ledge, hke the path of faith, has been marked with the 
graves of martyrs, and by bloody footprints of suffering 
and sorrow. The first blow came from the Copemioan 
astronomy, which dethroned the earth from her 
central position among the heavenly bodies ; the 
second from geology, which superseded the Mosaic 
programme of the creation of the world in six days, 
and substituted eras of unimaginable length in the 
formation of the earth's crust for the legendary week 
of Gen. 1 ; the third from the theory of evolution, 
which filled the vast ranges of space "and time thus 
suddenly thrown open with a perspective of developing 
hfe, whose evolution is still far from its goal The 
emancipation is now fairly complete ; but unfor- 
tunately, the triumph of science has for the time 
impaired the authority of Scripture not only as a text- 
book of astronomy or physics, but in its own proper 
domain as a fomitain of rehgious knowledge and of 
spiritual inspiration. 

There is one other result of the plenary theory 
which must not pass without brief notice. We refer 
to the science of interpretation. If every part of 
Scripture contains Divine truth, each part must have 
some definite value for religion as such. How, then, 
are we to deal with those portions which are hard 
to differentiate from the ordinary annals of other 
nations, with their trivial personal details and (in 
some cases) their doubtful moraUty ? What value for 
spiritual fife can we find in the minute hturgical and 
ceremonial details of the Tabernacle and its services ? 
What of the obscure passages in many of the prophets, 
especially the apocalyptic sections ? What of the 
erotic references in the Song of Songs ? What of the 
genealogies in the Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah ? 
In order to win abiding spiritual sustenance from these 
portions, the allegorical method of interpretation had 
to be employed. In addition to the plain, literal 



6 



THE BIBLE: ITS MEANING AND AIM 



meaning of Scripture there was also the mystical or 
epirituaT meaning, and it was the work of the com- 
mentator to discover and unfold this for the edification 
of the devout reader. That there is a mystical side 
to the Bible — especially in some part« — wo must all 
allow. It is also tnie that the laws of the moral and 
spiritual life may be legitimately illustrated or deduced 
if many subtle ways from the most trivial events. 
Th ) allegorical interpreter, however, was not satisfied 
with such sober methods, but allowed his rehgious 
imagination to carry him away into the wudest 
extravagances. In doing so, he followed a castom 
deeply embedded in Greek and Hebrew hterature. 
Allegory has been called " the safety-valve for Greek, 
Jew, and Christian." There is an indigenous tendency 
in the human mind which recognises by a natural 
intuition the analogy between the material and spiritual 
orders ; and this tendency (in the absence of historical 
criticism) was for the literalist the only way to avoid 
an awkward situation. Homer, for . instance (the 
" Bible of the Greek '), was from the time of Anaxa- 
goras treated allegorically. The actions of the Greek 
gods and goddesses typified the movements of natural 
forces ; " the story of Ares and Aphrodite and 
Hephaestus is a story of iron subdued by fire, and 
restored to its original hardness by Poseidon, that is, 
by water " ; or else they were the movements of 
mental powers and moral virtues (c/. the legend of 
Odysseus and the Sirens, etc.). (See Hatch, Hibbert 
Lectures, pp. 62, 64.) Again the Palestinian Jews 
allegorised the OT, finding a hidden meaning in 
sentences and even letters, especially for homiletic 
purposes ; while the Alexandrian Jews, being in close 
touch with the Platonic school of thought, did the 
same by their sacred books, in order to prove that 
they were neither impious nor barbarous, and that 
Moses was the teacher or anticipator of Pythagoras, 
Plato, and the Stoics. " The Hellenistic thinkers de- 
sired to be Greek philosophers without ceasing to be 
Jewish religionists." The representative Hellenist was 
the Alexandrian Philo, who reduced allegory to a 
system ; and in his eager desire to extract a higher 
meaning from the most trivial details of the OT, the 
narrative was at times quite lost sight of. We find 
traces of this method oven in Paul's writings, who 
was well versed in Rabbinical methods, as in his 
treatment of the legend of Hagar (Gal. 42 4£f.), in his 
use of the Israelitish wanderings (I Cor. lOi-ii), and 
in his view of the spiritual import of marriage (Eph. 5 
22-33 ; cf. also 1 Cbr. QqI, 2 Cor. 3i3fl., etc.). There 
is a further development of this method in Hebrews, 
which deals with Judaism as the shadow of Chris- 
tianity. The writer is fond of pointing out analogies 
and contrasts between the in\nsible, archetypal, im- 
perishable world, and the visible, perishable world of 
sense (cf. his elaborate allegory of Melchizedek, which 
reminds us of Philo's treatment of Melchizedek as an 
allegory of the Logos). There was, therefore, abundant 
literary and religious precedent for the use of the 
allegorical method by Christian writers, supreme among 
whom was Origen of Alexandria. This method of 
hcmdling Scripture was continued into later ages, and 
its close relation to literalist views of revelation is seen 
in the extravagancies of pietist writers down to our 
own time. The metho<l has certain advantages in 
educing spiritual truth from very unpromising material, 
and as a " metiiodolf)gical device " is perhaps occasion- 
ally justifiable for practical homiletic purjKJsos ; but 
as a serious business it is profoimdly vicious, since it 
is based on an unreality, and is, in the last resort, a 
mere intellectual subterfuge, and at best an indulgeaoe 



of the roliginiis imagination. Its worst feature is that 
it brce<ls cartle^ness of the real meaning of Scripture 
and a habit of intellectual indolence. In an age of 
critical thought most students will hold it to be Uttle 
short of a pious insincerity ; it Ls time it should be 
recognised to have had its day, and treated as a 
hindrance to the discovery and exposition of Scriptural 
truth. 



It would be misleading and sorely unjust, however, 
to ignore the fact that these obsolete views of inspira- 
tion and revelation in earlier ages did not hinder the 
positive teaching of Scripture from being grasped and 
appreciated. Till the wind of the criticaf movement 
began to trouble the quiet waters of faith, they were 
the only possible theories for those who valued the 
Word of God as Divinely given for the salvation of 
man. The plenary idea of inspiration did good 
service for the Church in many ways. In the first 
place, it ensured that the Bible should be valued at 
its infinite worth. During the ages before printing, 
and when every copy had to be made by hand, it 
guaranteed that the utmost care should be exercised 
to reproduce the original accurately, that the very 
letters should be written lovingly and beautifully, and 
that no conscious addition should be made to the text, 
or anything left out through carelessness or inattention. 
The contents and form of the book being equally 
priceless, no material but the best available was used 
in its reproduction, and every care was taken for its 
preservation, thus ensuring long life for the MSS. 
Later on, reverence for the Book was shown in the 
exquisite script and illumination which characterised 
the mediaeval copies. To this end Charlemagne, above 
all anxious to secure a really good, trustworthy text 
of the Bible, made a regulation that no unskilled or 
unscholarly person should be employed as a cop5Tst, 
for, as he said, " it needs not only piety, but grammar — 
and good grammar — to understand what you are copy- 
ing " ; and he collected a college of scholars, at the 
head of whom he placed Alouin, a monk from England, 
to do this sacred work. It is this reverence for the 
very letter of Scripture which accounts for the fact 
that though there are thousands of various readings 
in the MSS., the text of the Bible has been better pre- 
served for us than that of any other ancient boolc 
The same sentiment ensured that great care should 
be shown in the translation of the Bible into other 
tongues. The finest scholarship and the most loving 
solicitude have been shown in this work throughout 
the ages, down to the present day. The result is that 
this Book — so eminently translatable because of its 
concrete character, and its vivid though limited 
vocabulary — has been aptly rendered into most of the 
languages in which it has appeared, and has generally 
become the standard and norm of literary style. 
Again, for the same reason, there is probably no book 
that has been so widely read, and pondered, and com- 
mented on as the Bible. The most giftcnl intellcots 
of all ages have expended their insight and skill in 
discovering its meaning, and in applying its message 
to every human need. Because devout scholars have 
been «)nvinced tliat it is able t^ make men " wise unto 
salvation," they have grudged neither time nor effort 
searching its height and depth, its length and breadth, 
for light on the path of duty, for direction in the per- 
plexities and temptations and sorrows of life. Since 
its various parts were collected into a single volume, 
there is no literature, with the exception possibly of 
the Chinese classics, that has commanded a tithe of 



THE BIBLE: ITS MEANING AND AIM 



the conscientious study and loving exposition received 
by the Bible. 

But all thin was only a means to a greater end. The 
vast expenditure of effort in copying, translating, ex- 
pounding, and annotating the Book that has been 
going on throughout the centuries had a practical 
purpose. It was to enable men to appropriate for 
themselves the content of the revelation contained in 
it. Mistaken as we believe earlier ages to have been 
in their identification of the form with the substance, 
the Bible did its work, and still does it, in the hearts 
of its readers. There is that in it which he who runs 
may read, and which is equally within the reach of 
wise and simple if they but have the teachable mind 
and the open heart. Indeed the great triumphs of 
this Book in saving men from their sins, instructing 
and building up the Church of Christ, elevating thought, 
purifying morals, inspiring reforms, and initiating 
movements for the betterment of the world, were 
won while these now outworn theories of its nature 
were practically universal. The modem scholar and 
the critic over-estimate their function if they think 
that it ha-s been reserved for them to discover the 
essential message of the Bible. They have wrought a 
priceless benefit for the future of rehgion in that they 
have brought Bibhcal Science into Une with the rest 
of human knowledge, and made it possible for the 
educated mind to read it with more accuracy and 
understanding, unburdened with the im/pedimenta of 
superstitious ideas ; but they have done no more 
than this. The reUgious value of the Bible depends 
on its validity, its broad, spiritual appeal, its extra- 
ordinary power of reaching and transforming the soul 
of man. When our function as critics is done, we 
must still go to Scripture for its own authentic Word, 
and that can be grasped and won only if we combine 
the insight and judgment of the scholar with the 
heart of a httle child. The destructive work of 
criticism is necessary and good : it is now its task to 
build a positive view of the Bible which shall do for 
the coming generations what the older view, in spite 
of its imperfection and error, did for the generations 
gone by. 

VI 

We pass on to consider the authority of the Bible. 
What changes have been necessitated in this respect 
by the new view of its inspiration and of the nature of 
revelation ? 

It has always been perplexing and difficult to define 
the relation between religion and authority. There is 
an instinctive craving in the human soul for a standard 
of belief and conduct which shall be accepted as in- 
fallible. To stigmatise this aa a superstition or an 
infirmity is to pa.ss an undiscriminating judgment 
on a universal tendency. What marks jnan everywhere 
in all his strivings after spiritual peace and assurance 
must be a valid instinct in itself, however many the 
abuses associated with its workings. If the essence 
of religion lies in obedience, the question inevitably 
rises — obedience to what or whom ? Surely only to 
that which has a right to such obedience ; and perfect 
unquestioning obedience can properly be given only 
to what has an absolute right to it. Till we attain the 
conviction that we have found this " goal of heart's 
desire," there will be doubt in our allegiance, and 
uncertainty in our conduct. The longing for a valid 
criterion of truth, and a final standard of right, has 
thus been among the most passionate of all man's 
religious impulses. It has also been one of the moat 
difficult to satisfy — so difficult, indeed, that most men 



have either given up the quest as impossible, or have 
attempted to satisfy it along secondary and derivative 
lines. 

Now when pushed to its ultimate conclusion there 
can be but one clear and self-evident answer to the 
question — what is the ultimate seat of authority in 
religion ? That authority can be found only in the 
revealed will of God. He alone who created us and 
sustains us, and who ha.s " made us for Himself," has 
the right to our entire and unquestioning obedience. 
The very word " authority " (like " religion ") implies 
a personal relation, and this relation can only be that 
between God and the souL The real problem begins 
at this point. How may we reach the conviction that 
we have arrived at a sound knowledge of the will of 
God ? " Show us the Father," said Phihp, " and it 
sufficeth us." But how are we to know Him ? 

The mystic claims to reach this knowledge of God 
by means of the " inner hght." He repudiates ail 
appeal to external authority ; because it is external, 
it can have no real bearing on conscience, which must 
and can only be illumined from within. Without dis- 
paraging the priceless services rendered to religion by 
the mystics, and allowing that they are right in claim- 
ing the possibility of an immediate vision of the 
Divine, their method, uncorrected by any independent 
standard, is too subjective in character, too vague in 
its results, to satisfy the needs of the average soul. 
The most fruitful mystics have been those nurtured 
in an atmosphere of objective religion which has cor- 
rected their indefiniteness of statement, and their 
tendency to substitute a morbid introspection for 
sound teaching and healthy activity. Nor do the 
mystics always agree in their readings of the will of 
God ; some are nobly sane and practical in thought, 
others full of extravagance and mistiness — who shall 
judge between them ? Clearly, while mysticism is one 
way of coming into fruitful touch with the Divine 
realities, it is not the only way, nor is it a sure 
way. 

The ecclesiastic affirms the Church to be the only 
authoritative channel of the revelation we seek. 
Divinely appointed, Divinely safeguarded from error. 
We are not disloyal to the Church if we point out her 
failure aa an infallible source of Divine knowledge. 
Her boasted infallibiUty has been historically proved 
to be a broken reed ; she has never really spoken at 
any one time with clear consentient voice, nor have 
her utterances been consistent with one another in 
different ages. She has the advantage over mjrsticism 
in that she expresses the collective consciousness of 
believers, but the decrees of her councils have been 
too often the result of compromises between warring 
parties to be free from aberration and inconsistency. 
Her claim as regards the Bible — that it is her child 
and not her standard, and therefore that she alone 
has the right to teach and interpret it to the devout 
believer — is unsound in point of fact. The Church 
did not create the Bible, any more than the Bible the 
Church ; they were both derived from a common 
source — the experience of those who came into personal 
contact with Jesus Christ, and felt the inspiration of 
His saving personality and work. The Gospels are 
the memorials of His life and teaching which took shape 
within the early Church, but were not created by it ; 
the epistles are the literary deposit of the experience 
of those who were filled with the power of His Holy 
Spirit, and who, living under the quickening influence 
of His grace, founded the Church. This reciprocal 
relation between Church and Bible thus invaUdates 
the oleum of the Church to superiority over the Bibk> 



8 



THE BIBLE: ITS MEANING AND AIM 



aa the ultimate revelation of God, and the authentio 
interpreter of His will. Thov are co-ordinates. 

What then of the Bible 'Itself ?— The l>rot«8tant, 
ha\'in':; ropniliated the infallible authority of the 
Church, fell buck on the lJ<>ok as the ultimate standard 
of religious truth. Round this idea clustered a for- 
midable set of artirmations regarding its inerrancy, 
and its perfect consistency with itself. For centuries 
it was possible to hold tliis theory with sincerity and 
confidence, though the wit of theo"logian and apologist 
was taxed to the utmost in dealing with many problems 
of internal consistency and harmony. The rise of 
historical and Unguistic criticism has, however, finally 
destroyed these claims. This, of course, does not 
mean that it is devoid of authority for the discovery 
and exposition of the Divine Mind and Will. It still 
remains an incontrovertible because experimental 
truth, that out of the Bible a Divine Voice speaks, and, 
when the authentic accent of that voice comes home 
to us, we cannot for a moment doubt that we are face 
to face with the ultimate authority over the human 
soul. This, however, is quite other than affirming 
the infalhble authority of the Bible as a written revela- 
tion. The Book, like the Church and the mj'stic inner 
voice, points to someone beyond itself. 

Let us pursue this point a little further. It is to be 
aoted that while many theologians and spiritually- 
minded believers have "laid stress on the authority of 
the Bible as such, and even on its inerrancy and in- 
falhbihty, the writers of the Book, and of its various 
portions, never make tliis claim for themselves. True, 
we come here and there on such phrases as " Thus 
saith the Lord,"' but these always refer to individual 
utterances which the speaker was persuaded had come 
to him directly from God Himself, and never to the 
Book as a whole, nor to particular boolcs included in 
the Canon. Indeed, as Dr. Dale, in his little book on 
Protestantism : Its Ultimate Principle, points out, the 
universal experience of devout Christians sustains the 
statement that in reading even the NT " the idea of the 
authority of the Book as a book is hardly ever thought 
of. The book — explain it how we may — vanishes. 
The truth read there shines in its own light. I forget 
Matthew, and Mark, and Luke, and John. I see 
Christ face to face ; I hear His voice ; I am filled 
with wonder and joy. I forget St. Paul, and am 
thrilled with gratitude for the infinite mercy which 
justifies me freely for Christ's sake, and for His sake 
grants me the free gift of eternal life. I forget St. 
James, and think only of the authority of the Divine 
Law. I forget St. John in the vision of the Divine 
Love. The infallibility of the Council, or of the Pope, 
recurs to me constantly when I am considering their 
definitions of truth ; it comes between me and the 
truth itself. Whether the writers of the New Testa- 
ment are infallible or not is a question which rarely 
occurs to me. Somehow when they tell me a truth, 
I come to know it for myself ; the tnith is mine and 
not merely theirs. Practically the Bible does not 
come between me and God " (pp. 41, 42). 

May we not carry this line of thought a little further 
still ? There are those who claim that the value of 
the Bible lies in the fact that it contains the revelation 
of the Son of God, who is Himself the ultimate authority 
for Christian believers. And this, properly imder- 
Btood, is a pn)found tnith. To know Jesus Christ in 
His saving nnssion and work is to know God. " He 
that hath seen me," He is rcjiortcd to have said, " hath 
seen the Father." It is the testimony of the Christian 
consciousness in all ages, that to find Jesus is to find 
God. Beyond Him we cannot go in our search for 



the Etenial, who in Him has spoken His ^nll as in no 
one else. This claim for the ultimate character of the 
Divine revelation in Je.su8 Christ is, however, some- 
timas aflinned in a way difficult any longer to sulj- 
stantiate. Jesus — whatever more He may have bec^n — 
was a Jew of the first century ; bom of a particular 
lineage ; brought up under certain social and intel- 
lectual conditions veryditlerent from our own ; bearing 
marks of the peculiar culture and outlook on Ufe that 
belonged to His age and His environment. He was 
one who knew little, if anything, of Greek philosophy, 
of Roman law, and nothing of the vast accumulation 
of knowledge which has been garnered and systematLsed 
since His day. Furthermore, the records of His life 
and teaching are such that while derived for the most 
part from eyewitnesses of His earthly presence and 
ministry, they can scarcely be described as contempo- 
raneous. His words as they have come to us boar as 
a whole the unmistakable stamp of HLs personahty. 
Still, it is impossible to prove in particidar instances 
that we have HLs ipsissinia verba, for (so far as we 
know) He Himself wrote no word of His discourses, 
which were essentially oral in character, and must 
have passed through many repetitions and transla- 
tions from Aramaic into Greek before they took the 
condensed form in which we possess them ; indeed, we 
have more than one variant in the Sj-noptists them- 
selves of some of His most characteristic sayings, and 
they cannot all be literally accurate, especially when 
we remember that we have them in their Greek and not 
their original Aramaic form. All this clearly proves, 
in the first place, that the authority of Jesus in rehgion 
must be more carefully defined than by our forefathers. 
We cannot claim infallibility for Him on questions of 
history, such as the authorship of OT books, or on 
the problems of science. In these directions He must 
be quite frankly considered to have accepted the 
current notions of His time. He did not come to set 
the world right on these matters, but to reveal the 
saving purpose of God for humanity, and to fulfil His 
work for the redemption of the world by what He 
taught, and wrought, and suffered, and achieved in His 
victory over sin and death. But when we go to Him 
for hght on the nature of God, on His fatherly relations 
to us, on His attitude regarding sin and forgiveness, on 
His redeeming grace, on the ideal life He would have 
us lead, and on His willingness to help ils in our utter 
spiritual need, we discover in Jesus a revelation of 
saving power which fuids its corroboration to-day, as 
in all ages since the days of His flesh, in the triumphant 
experience of believing men and women. Secondly, 
the conditions under which the gaspel has come down 
to us leave us free to exercise a sane judgment on the 
appUcability of many of His maxims to our own times. 
Their literal application — even if we are ixjrsuadcd 
that we have them in their original form — is often 
impossible to-day. Some of his characteristic pre- 
cojits were special injunctions to particular persons 
under circumstances that have no parallel in our own 
experience. If we would truly obey .Jesus we must 
therefore interpret these sayings broadly, disentangling 
the inner principle from the oiitward form, and applying 
them to our own c^ise under the guidance of the 
general sense of His teaching as a whole. Ho would 
be the last to wish His people U^ be perpetually bound 
by mere literalism ; " My wortls," He said, " they are 
spirit and thev are life." This leaves us a large liberty 
of action whife wo are bound by the heartiest k>valty 
to Himself and His Gospel. When thus followed, the 
general spirit of His teaching is found to result in the 
same experience of redemption and peace and joy in 



THE BIBLE: ITS MEANING AND AIM 



9 



the Holy Ghost aa was the case with His first disciples 
and with the saints of all subsec^uent ages ; and the 
question of authority, while impossible to express in 
abstract terras, is solved in practice without in any 
way interfering with the freedom of the spirit, and the 
sacred responsibiUties of personality. 



THE OLD TESTAMENT 
VII 

Having thus defined in a general way the changed 
modem attitude to the rehgious literature comprised 
in the Bible, we can investigate its permanent value 
for faith with open and unembarrassed minds. Before 
we deal with its specific contents from this point of 
view, two or three general remarks are needful, bearing 
with special significance on the character of the OT 
literature. 

In the first place, vx miist wice and for all set aside 
the pre-crttical view of (he Bible as an isolated and 
cotnplete book. Before the dawn of criticism, scholars 
and commentators dealt with it as though it were the 
pure result of an immediate and unrelated revelation. 
It was like Melchizedek, " without father and without 
mother," owing nothing to any previous literature, 
and having no aflfinity with the sacred books of other 
nations. We now know that, however unique it may 
be in its contents and method, it was the deposit of a 
complex series of religious movements, dating from 
very ancient times. It is no longer possible to trace 
its indebtedness to all the specific sources ; but it is 
certain that the religious hfe and faith of which it is 
the exponent was a stream that drew its waters from 
a vast watershed of spiritual history and experience. 
We can follow some of its tributaries far back into 
previous ages. The laws attributed to Moses, for in- 
stance, if tbey were not derived directly from the Code 
of Hammurabi (pp. 51, 130), have so much in common 
with it that the two codes must at least have been 
largely derived from some common source. The stories 
of the Creation and the Flood have immistakable 
resemblances to myths and traditions in other early 
faiths. In the later books, clear traces are visible of 
the influence of Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, and 
perhaps Zoroastrian ideas. The comparative study of 
ancient rehgions, and especially the discoveries of 
archaeologists in the East, constantly throw fresh hght 
on the origins of Bibhcal thought and literature. This 
does not in the least subtract from, but rather adds 
lustre to, the unique independence and strength of its 
contents ; if the material is partly the same, the out- 
look, spirit, and handhng of this material is stamped 
with an individuality and a loftiness all its own. We 
cannot measure the incomparable value of the Bible 
till we collate it with the previous or contemporary 
rehgious literature of the various nations with whom 
Israel came into successive contact during its chequered, 
but Di\-inely ordered history. 

Secondly, the Bible as we have it is a very much 
edited body of literature, and the various editors have 
treatetl their earlier sources with considerable freedom ; 
nor have they always been very skilful in their treat- 
ment. In the Hexateuch (Genesis to Joshua, pp. 121- 
132) we can trace four main sources of narrative and 
laws woven by the lat«r editors into a complex and by 
no means homogeneous whole, and much more ancient 
materials were probably used in the composition of 
each of these. Scholars have been able to disentangle 
theee narratives and laws into their various threads, 



and to lay them side by side, bo that the special view- 
points and purposes of the writers stand out clearly — 
sometimes ind^d in vivid contrast. We can thus see 
that there are two accounts of creation (Gen. li-24a, 
and 24^-25) ; two closely-interwoven versions of the 
Flood-story, and several twin-narratives of patriarchal 
and monarchic times. Not a few of the prophetic 
writings under the names of single authors are now 
held to be of composite origin ; the speeches of EUhu 
in the Book of Job are probably by a different author 
from that of the rest of the book ; the Proverbs 
assigned to Solomon are a collection drawn from many 
sources, as are the Psalms attributed to David, etc. 
(for fuller details see the Commentary). By analysing 
the various books into their constituent elements, 
many contradictions and inconsistencies are accounted 
for, and much light is thrown on the hterary methods 
and rehgious interests of Bibhcal writers. 

Thirdly, the Canonical Old Testament is the survival 
of a much larger body of literature, most of which is 
now probably irretrievably lost, though certain portions 
of earher works are incorporated in our Bibhcal books. 
The literature of moat peoples began with poetry, 
which was originally composed for oral recitation, and 
afterwards put into writing. We have many such 
fragments in the historical books, e.g. the song of 
Miriam (Exod. 152of.), of Deborah the prophetess 
(Jg. 5), of Lamech (Gen. 423), and many others 
(Nu. 2I27-30, Jos. 10i2f., 1 S. 2I11, 2 S. liQ-27, 333i, 
etc. ) ; most of these are songs of triumph over fallen 
enemies, or threnodies over fallen friends, battle songs, 
or paeans of victory, denunciations of enemies or of 
faithless friends ; but here and there we have the 
genuine rehgious note in the expression of hearty 
allegiance to Yahweh as Israel's God (Nu. 21 14, 
Jg. 52f.,9,ii,i3, 1 S. 1817,25,28). These outbursts of 
poetry bear the marks of genuineness and spontaneity, 
and the fact that they are embedded in the narrative 
in so obvious a manner bears witness to the historicity 
of the events to which they refer, though, of course, 
they do not guarantee the details of the stories as we 
have them. Some of these quotations are from an 
ancient collection of (probably) warhke songs called 
the " book of Jashar " (the upright) which dated from 
a period a httle later than that of David (c/. 2 S.l 17-27), 
but of which nothing further is known (p. 45). How fax 
the historical books from Judges to Nehemiah use up 
earlier hterary sources it is not always possible to 
determine in deteiil, but it is likely that by the time of 
David " a prose style must have been developed along- 
side of the poetry " (Sanday), as is seen in the excellent 
account of David's court and family in 2 S. 9-20, 
which reads like authentic tiistory compiled from first- 
hand materials. The two- streams of narrative running 
through 1 S. also«suggest the-existence of contemporary 
documents used by later writers engaged in tracing 
the history of Israel to its origins, and embodying 
still earher traditions. It was the custom of many 
early historians to incorporate fragments of previous 
writings verbatim et literatim without acknowledgment, 
piecing these together without much art, often making 
no effort to test their trustworthiness, and occasionally 
embellishing them with additional details of their own, 
as is seen in the two books of Chronicles, which con- 
tain highly coloured duplicates of earlier narratives in 
Samuel and Kings. The last-mentioned instance gives 
us valuable material for noting how special religious 
interests affected the mind of many of the writers in 
deahng with earlier materials, and how fully they felt 
justified in modifying the narratives for their own 
purposes. 

la 



10 



THE BIBLE: ITS MEANING AND AIM 



vm 



Bearing theae considerations in mind, we are in a 
better position to handle the question of the historical 
and religious value of the OT. 

This problem beoomo« insistent in view of the loss 
of belief in the infallibility of the OT Scriptures as a 
medium of revelation, and the consequent shifting of 
emphasis from the records to the facts that lie behind 
them. As we have no means of getting at the facta 
except through the record, does not the new view of 
the Bible land us in a state of uncertainty from which 
there is no escape ? 

1. The answer to this question must be frankly, 
" Yes, as regards many of the details." It may be 
freely allowed, indeed, that in reading the OT we 
are not dealing with history at all in the modem sens© 
of the term, but with a certain treatment of history 
which has a profound spiritual value. These ancient 
books were written long before the science of history 
as we know it was bom. The writers were divided 
by a great gulf even from the ancient classical his- 
torians ; how much more from the scientific historians 
of to-day ! The aim of the modem historian is to 
reproduce as accurately as possible the significant 
events of the past ; to give true and imvamished 
pictures of the great personalities who swayed the 
destinies of nations ; to describe the struggles, manners, 
customs, laws, institutions, forms of government, 
economic conditions of successive ages ; to trace the 
hne of causation from one salient historical situation 
to another ; and to connect the story of one nation 
to another in an organic way. The OT lacks nearly 
all these notes of careful and authentic history. To 
summarise Dr. Peake's frank and able treatment of 
this question — we may say that the OT narratives 
are often meagre when we most desire to find them 
full, and full of detail where we should expect them to 
be meagre. The story of long periods is sometimes 
summarised in a few words, or left totally blank, 
while the biographies of individuals are given with 
almost irritating minuteness. It is still an open 
question who the Pharaoh of the Oppression was ; 
when the Exodus took place ; how long was the period 
of the Judges ; what took place during the long years 
of the Exile, and during the seventy yeai-s between the 
" return " and the rebuilding of the Temple ; and 
why the history of Israel appears to come to an end 
400 years before the coming of Jesus. During the 
latter period " we have the training of the people by 
the discipline of the completed Law ; the transformar- 
tion of prophecy into apocalypse ; the downfall of 
Persia ; the conquests of Alexander, which changed 
the face of the world ; the subtle penetration of 
Jewish Ufe by the Greek spirit ; the attempt of 
Antiochus Epiphanes to root out the Jewish reUgion ; 
the Maccabiean rising and all that followed it ; the 
creation of the Judaism into which Jesus came " 
( The Bible : Its Origin, Its Significance, and Its 
Abiding Worth, p. 299). The OT as history errs also 
by redundance as well as defect. The early narratives 
of Genesis are given with a vivid and particular detail 
which suggests contemporary sources, and yet it is no 
longer possible to accept much of their substance as 
historical at all. Myth and legend are related as 
though they were actual occurrences ; the aocoimts 
given of the patriarchs, in spite of their vivid charac- 
terisation, are difficult to accept in detail, and while 
we may claim to l)0 on the fimi groimd of history 
when we come to the Exodus, and the creation of the 
Latiou by Moaes on a reUgioua basis, wo cannot insist 



on many particular statements, and the laws attri- 
buted to Moses bear sure marks of being for the most 
part later than his time. There are many uncer- 
tainties and discrepancies also in the later narratives, 
into which we have here no space to enter. 

2. If, however, we caii no longer insist on regarding 
the OT as a book of history in the strict sense of the 
word, it is a splendid mine of literary material for the 
reconstmction of history. It enables us to put the 
salient features of the story of the Jewish nation into 
more or loss clear jxirspective, to follow its develop- 
ment from stage to stage, to trace the growth of its 
reUgion from its crude beginnings to its splendid 
chmax ; and if to the books of the OT we add those 
of the Apocrypha and the apocalyptic htorature, wo 
gain a sufficiently clear idea of the historical sequence 
of events from Moses to Chiist for all practical pur- 
poses. If we thus use the Bible as material for a 
scientific history as we should any other ancient docu- 
ments, we finally regain with one hand what we seem 
to have lost from the other. Instead of a verbally- 
inspired volume of oracles to be accepted as it stands, 
we find looming out of these rich but tangled records 
the story of a race firmly based on the bed-rock of 
history, and fulfiUing a function in the life of man- 
kind as unique as it is imperishable. It is a race 
with a genius for rehgion on the one side, and used by 
God for the gradual unfolding of His nature and 
saving purpose for mankind on the other, which finds 
its consummation in the coming of His Son Jesus 
Christ, towards whom all its fines converge as in a 
bright and glowing focus, and from which it radiates 
down the ages to all nations and lands. 

3. What gives the writers of the OT their true 
significance is not their power of accurate narration, 
but tlie supreme religious interest which they have in 
the past story of their nation. Taking the standpoint 
of the latest editors who handled the complex hterary 
sources that had come down to them in divers portions 
from previous ages, what do we see ? We are looking 
back in vision on the story of a people whose differentia 
among the races around them was a uniejue capacity 
for God, from whom they often tried to escape, but 
from whom escape was impossible, because Ho held 
them as in the hollow of His hand and would not 
let them go ; and these people He trained especially 
for the purpose of reveahng Himself to them, and 
through them to the world. It was a people which 
produced many outstanding personalities, and which 
passed through terrible experiences of v,-nT and pesti- 
lence, famine and captivity. Lawgivers, judges, kings, 
poets, prophets — it mattered not what tliese great 
men were ; all were used, whether willingly or un- 
wilhngly, for the furtherance of God's purpose, and 
the gratlual unfolding of His will. The very lapses 
of the people into the idolatries and cults of surrounding 
nations were somehow made ministrant to the same 
great end. The process was slow and painful ; it 
had many periods of pause and apparent retropression ; 
but during the millcimium of the corporate history of 
the Lsraelitish people there was an ever-clarifying 
vision of Gods holy nature, an ever-fimicr grasp of 
His providential care and grace, an cver-bri^ihtcning 
forecast of a great consummation towards which He 
was bringing them. Thej' were often faithless to their 
spiritual function, and sometimes fiercely resisted the 
discipline to which they were subjected in the pursuance 
of the Divine purpose. This, however, only brings 
into greater pn)minence the Divine factor in the pro- 
cess, and shows that the history of Israel cannot be 
summed up as the result of purely " resident forces," 



THE BIBLE: ITS MEANING AND AIM 



11 



or the mere action and reaction of a race on its own 
environment. The story throughout bears witness to 
the operation of a supomaturaT influence acting con- 
tinuously for long ages on the temperament and char- 
acter of a nation — the unfolding of an authentic 
revelation of God in His saving activities, leading to 
a still more wonderful revelation to come. 

IX 

One feature of etlinic religions as a whole is the 
strange chasm they present as existing between rehgion 
and morality. Religion stood for a certain relationship 
between the Divine and the human, sometimes con- 
ceived of personally (as in the tribal religions), some- 
times pantheistically (as in some of the Eastern 
reUgions), sometimes duahstically (as in the Zoroastrian 
and Gnostic cults) ; but reUgion as the Science of 
C!onduct viewed in its Divine aspects was not to be 
found an5^here. Ethical relationships were viewed 
as existing only among men, and with these religion 
had nothing to do. Even in Grecian and Roman 
times, the gods were often conceived of as monsters 
of lust, oppression, cunning, and self-indulgence. It 
is noteworthy that the loftj^ ethical systems of Aristotle 
and Seneca were developed from the side of philo- 
sophy, not of theology, and did not emerge till a 
period of scepticism as to the real existence of the 
gods. It was reserved for the Hebrews alone to 
develop a religion which evolved into fullness of 
content and authority in ever-deepening association 
•with an evolution of social ethic unparalleled in lofti- 
ness and beauty, so that in the end faith and conduct 
became identified. The OT is largely a record of a 
critical stage in this ethico-religious discipline through 
which the people of Israel passed. 

1. The nucleus of this ethical movement is to be 
found in the covenant-relationship which existed be- 
tween Yahweh and His people. The exclusiveness 
and reciprocity of this relationship were the central 
features of Hebraism ; and faithfulness on both sides 
was its ethical aspect. Yahweh from the beginning 
was a God who kept His word ; who never failed those 
who put their trust in Him, and never forgot to punish 
those who, once His, forsook Him for strange gods. 
In the first four books of the Pentateuch we have 
references to repeated covenants between God and 
man — the racial covenant with Noah, the family 
covenant with Abraham, the sacerdotal covenant with 
Levi ; and in Deuteronomy we have three such 
covenants referred to — that with the fathers (Abraham, 
Isaac, and Jacob), that at Horeb, when the Decalogue 
was given, and that on the plains of Moab, which is 
the main subject of Deuteronomy itself. This last- 
mentioned covenant p^articularly emphasizes the faith- 
fulness and immutability of God ; it holds binding 
though Israel be scattered among the nations, for God 
will not forget His people. Throughout, the ethical 
character of these covenants is acknowledged, but this 
element grows richer with the lapse of time and the 
religious development of the nation. 

2. The ethical movement in Israel was greatly en- 
riched by the prophetic teaching. Though it is only 
in Jeremiah and Ezekiel (prophets under the influence 
of Deuteronomy) that references to special covenants 
are made, the prophets build their message on the 
fact of a general covenant-relation between Yahweh 
and Israel ; He is their God, and they are His people, 
a relation formed by His act in redeeming them from 
Egypt (HoB. 129, Am. 82). This covenant is always 
ethical in character. What is required by the prophets 



is to " seek good," i.e. civil and moral righteousness, 
and the service of Yahweh alone. But the distinctive 
message of the prophets goes deeper than this. As 
Professor A. B. Davidson saj^s, the prophet is " an 
interpreter of events on their spiritual side." " Pro- 
phecy arises out of history, keeps pace with it, and 
interprets it." Events are not mere occurrences — 
there is a moral meaning in them ; God's will can be 
discovered through them, and that will is always a 
moral will. Especially is the prophet filled with a 
vision of ideals, not as hanging vaguely in the air, but 
as implicit in history, and sure of fulfilment in the 
future. This predictive element is the falUble side 
of prophecy, but it contains a Divine truth, for though 
the prophet may be mistaken as to times and seasons, 
the moral connexion of events and their sure issues 
in the future are safe and vahd intuitions. Here we 
have the root distinction between true and false 
prophets ; the latter are mere soothsayers and pre- 
dictors, the former grasp the moral meaning of events. 
Hence ritual has no place in the prophetic message ; 
that element belongs to another plane of thought. 
Again, the prophets deal with social relations from 
their ethical side as duties owing to God as well aa 
our neighbour. It is in the holiness and righteousness 
of God that we find the ultimate sanction of right 
social conduct. And further, there is in the prophets 
a constantly growing emphasis on the individual 
aspect of conduct. This does not appear explicitly 
till the scattering of the nation as such prepares the 
way, though it is impUcit in the earher prophets. 
This is in one direction the high-water mark of the 
prophetic message, since it inaugurates the conception 
of clear individual responsibihty to God, and lays the 
foundations of a type of personal character on which 
afterwards the distinctively Christian ideal is built. And 
just aa the nationalism of the earher pre-exihc prophets 
implied individual responsibihty, so the individualism 
of the later prophets had a national aspect, since it 
was through good, faithful men alone that the nation 
could ever revive into strength. In both cases God 
appears equally as the Holy Being to whom men 
owe their duty, and who will faithfully reward or 
punish them according to their deeds. Finally His 
ethical demands take a higher quahty and forcefulneaa 
of appeal through the revelation given of Yahweh in 
the later prophets as a God of grace. Some writers 
who hold that Yahweh was originally the tribal god of 
the Kenites find the first germinal idea of grace in the 
fact that He was not originally the tribal or local Gkxi 
of Israel, but that He took up this homeless tribe in 
its enslaved condition and made it His own through 
goodwill and pity. This idea is further developed by 
Hosea, who represents Yahweh as continuing to love 
and befriend Israel in spite of faithlessness because of 
His loving nature. In the " Suffering Servant " 
passages in Is. 40-65, the highest revelation of the 
Divine grace in the OT is seen in His action in identi- 
fying Himself through His Servant with the suffering, 
scattered people, and bearing their sins and sorrows 
on His own heart. Here we have the prophetic 
equivalent or forecast of the Gospel doctrine of Atone- 
ment through the Cross. 

3. We must turn to the sacrificial and ritual obser- 
vances in the Law for another contribution of the OT 
religion to the education of the moral sense. The 
various types of sacrifice — the Burnt Offering, the Sin 
Offering, the Guilt Offering — all had an ethical signifi- 
cance, standing as they did for the fact of repentance 
on the part of the worshipper, and for forgiveness on 
the side of God. The Day of Atonement was a cere- 



12 



THE BIBLE: ITS MEANING AND AIM 



monial expressly emphasizing Cods holiness. In later 
times there waa an increasing peril of losing this 
aspect of the sacrificial system, which tended to harden 
into formality, and to obscure the supremo value of 
moral conduct- in its votaries (c/. our LonlM denuncia- 
tion of the Pharisees who " tithed mint and anise 
and cummin " and forgot the " weightier matters of 
the law ■■). This, however, was the abuse of a higher 
function intended for better ends. 

The result of all these educative elements in the 
discipUne of Israel was to develop a religious and 
ethical conception of hfe which stands alone among 
ancient faiths in its emphasis on moral character in 
closest relationship with spiritual worship. The 
critical movement which broke down the old view of 
the Bible as an infallible text-book of reUgion has only 
helped to bring more clearly into view the historical 
factors which helped to make Israel the medium of 
this incomparable benefit for mankind. And it has 
removed one supreme difficulty contained in the elder 
view, which forced readers of the OT to believe that 
many of the earlier customs and acts of the nation 
were Divinely commanded. We are now able to 
recognise here only a crude stage of ethical develop- 
ment (in vivid contrast, however, to the still lower 
moral standards of surrounding nations), which waa 
afterwards superseded as the process of revelation 
became more and more ethicised, and the refining 
conscience of the nation was able to bear its higher 
teachings. God made Himself known to this people 
afl they were capable of receiving the message ; the 
light was tempered to the vision ; not till in the full- 
neas of time Christ came and brought the perfect 
revelation of the Fatherhood do we arrive at the 
teaching which superseded all the earlier standards 
and gave us a law of conduct appUcable to all times 
and peoples, and which haa even yet been nowhere 
fully reaUsedL 

X 

We pass to another valuable contribution made by 
the OT to the spiritual life in its conception of Ood's 
relation to Nature as the theatre of human life and 
destiny. Criticism has been an invaluable help in 
realising this in its fullness. 

We no longer go to the Bible for the science of Nature. 
In those early times there was no such thing as science 
in the modem sense of the term. As already sug- 
gested, science deals with secondary causes and effects ; 
it treats exclusively of what philosophers call the 
phenomenal or factual relations of things. On the 
other hand, the Bible has no interest in the mere 
sequence of natural cause and effect. It views man 
and Nature in only one, i.e. the religious aspect, 
which deals with men and things in their relation to 
the great First Cause — the holy and efficient will of 
God, When once this fact is reaUsed in all its bearings 
we are emancipated from the unhappy dilemma on 
the horns of which our forefathers were impaled for 
nearly two thousand years. Believing that every 
reference throughout the Bible to the phenomena of 
Nature must be taken as infallibly true just as it 
stood, they were forced to the position either that 
any advance to a clearer knowledge of the science of 
Nature must bo set aside as fiction, or that the Bible 
was in many places unscientific and untrue. We now 
perceive that the naive beliefs of Biblical writers 
about natural phenomena were incidental and non- 
essential to their true message, and have no claim on 
our faith. We are thus left free to inquire into the 
aignificance of their view of Nature from the religioua 



standpoint, and this we find, in most of its bearings, 
to be true for all time. 

1, Take the account given to us of the Creation 
story in Genesis. Ever; within living memory this 
was the subject of the fiercest controversies between 
scientists and theologians. It was taken for granted 
on both sides that we had here a literal account of 
the making of the universe in six days of twenty-four 
hours each, tliat the various stages of creation must 
be accepted as authoritative in the order given, and 
that the slightest proved inaccuracy would totally 
invalidate the tnistworthiness of the whole. We have 
travelled away so rapidly from such a position to-day 
that it is hard to enter into the mind of either side in 
the controversy, or to excuse their temper. The first 
chapter of Genesis is now recognised by all reputable 
thinkers to be neither science nor history ; it is a 
Hymn of Creation, which takes this form in order to 
carry home to the reader the central truth of the 
dependence of the universe for its existence, its order, 
and its maintenance on God, the Creative Spirit, who 
made all things well, and who created man to be His 
vicegerent and servant at the head of the earthly 
order. To quote the words of the late Professor 
Elmslie : " The idea of the arrangement followed is on 
the face of it (not chronological) but literary and 
logical It is chosen for its comprehensiveness, its 
all-inclusive completeness. To declare of every part 
and atom of Nature, that it is the making of God, 
the author passes in procession the great elements or 
spheres which the human mind everywhere conceives 
as making up the world, and pronounces them one 
by one God's creation. Then he makes an inventory 
of their entire furniture and content, and asserts that 
all these are Ukewise the work of God. For his pur- 
pose — which is to declare the universal creatorahip of 
Grod and the uniform creature-hood of Nature — the 
order is unsurpassed and unsurpassable. With a 
masterly survey which marks everything and omits 
nothing, he sweeps the whole category of created 
existence, collects the scattered leaves into six con- 
gruous groups, encloses each in a compact and uniform 
binding, and then on the back of the numbered and 
uniform and ordered volumes stamps the great title 
and declaration that they are one and all, every jot, 
tittle, shred, and fragment, the works of their Almighty 
Author, and of none beside," Viewed scientifically, 
this picture of the universe is out of its true perspec- 
tive, and the order of the development of things is 
here and there inaccurate — how in that far-away age 
could it be otherwise ? — but for its purpose, these 
features are irrelevant. The true value of this Creation- 
Psalm is seen best when we compare it with similar 
fragments of creation-hterature among surrounding 
nations, and note its unapproached spiritual «ugges- 
tivenees and beauty. More than this. To quote 
words elsewhere used by the writer : " We have but 
to compare this Hymn with modem rehgio-philo- 
sophical attempts to enter into the higher aspects of the 
universe to find it springing into lofty and unmis- 
takable antithesis. Agnosticism pales its ineffectual 
fires before the still radiance of this wonderful Hymn ; 
Positivism sinks into shamed silence in the presence 
of its exultant refrain, ' Behold, it was very good.' 
It is the world's morning chant of the goodness and 
beauty of the Creator's activity in the making of all 
that was, and is, and is to come ; and to the world's 
evening in the dim future it will continue to voice the 
highest and devouteet mood of humanity in looking 
at the earthly home in which it dwells, and works, 
and aspires." (TA* Ascent Through Christ, pp. 90f.) 



THE BIBLE: ITS MEANING AND AIM 



13 



2. The attitude of all OT writers is throughout con- 
sistent with the position taken up in this wonderful 
account of creation. Nature is everywhere dependent 
on God ; He is Lord of all. The Bible is an open-air 
book ; it is redolent of wind and rain, storm and 
sunshine, blossom and fruit, for it was written by 
men who deUghted in the works of God and who never 
forgot the Creator in His works, but viewed everything 
in the hght of His orderly power and providential 
care and lovingkindness. (Abundant quotations and 
references might be given, but space forbids.) Suffice 
it to say that no reoder of the Hebrew Scriptures can 
famiUarise himself with them without coming to con- 
sider Nature habitually in a worshipping mood, and 
finding spiritual suggestions in the order and stabihty 
of the world, in the procession of the seasons, in seed- 
time and harvest, in the springing com and the falUng 
rain. The writers, moreover, are skilful in the figura- 
tive use of natural phenomena as emblems of spiritual 
realities. If, in Emerson's phrase, " language is one 
of the uses which Nature subserves to man," and if 
" Nature is the symbol of spirit," the Bible overflows 
with classical passages in which this process La carried 
to its finest limits of expression, especially in the 
Psalms, in Job, and in some of the prophetic writings. 
We see there how true it is that " the laws of moral 
nature answer to those of matter as face to face." 
Indeed, with this book in our hands we find the uni- 
verse becoming transparent, and the hght of higher 
laws than its own shining through it. We owe it 
chiefly to the Hebrew mind that this view of Nature 
haa become the common possession of all devout souls. 

3. There is one aspect of the Bibhcal view of Nature 
which we have more or less outgrown. We are every- 
where taught in it to beheve that God uses special 
operations of Nature aa elements in the moral disciphne 
of man — a beUef which has persisted down to quite 
modem times. Storm, famine, pestilence, floods, and 
drought are frequently referred to as used for the 
punishment of races and nations for evil customs or 
for forgetfulness of God. The Flood was His method 
of destroying all but a fragment of mankind at a 
period of unexampled wickedness (Gen. 65f.). The 
plagues of Egypt (frogs, hce, flies, murrain, boils, hail, 
locusts, etc.) were used to compel Pharaoh to permit 
the Israehtes to return to Canaan (Exod. Sgf.). A 
volcanic outburst destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for 
flagrant immorality (Gen. I924) ; an earthquake 
swallowed the famihes of Dathan and Abiram for 
sedition (Nu. I631) ; David's numbering of Israel was 
punished by a pestilence that slew 70,000 men (2 S. 24 
15 ; cf. Lev. 2625, Nu. 14i2, Jer. 14i2, Ezek. 5i2, 
Mt. 247, Lk. 21 11). So completely were the Hebrews 
saturated with the notion that all physical calamities 
had a moral significance, that nothing untoward could 
happen without its being associated with some sin or 
delinquency on the part of mankind. Even in NT 
times the disciples feel constrained to ask whether a 
certain man's blindness from birth was due to the 
fault of his parents or his own (Jn. 92). This behef, 
which we can no longer hold, tind which was specifically 
discounted by our Lord on two occasions (c/. Jn. 93 
and Lk. 184), we must now relegate to the region of 
those beneficent illusions which have played so large 
a part in the education of the human race. None the 
less it is but the exaggeration of a profound trath, for 
man does hold moral relations with Nature, and she 
haa always exercised a profound influence on his 
spiritual development and destiny, both in her bene- 
ficent and orderly processes, and in those occasional 
calamities with which she visits him. 



XI 



The crowning contribution of the OT to religion 
however, remains to be indicated, i.e. its interpretation 
of the history of the Hebrew people as the medium of 
God's revelation of His nature and purpose. This is 
to be found, not so much in any direct references to 
the fact, as in the instinctive attitude of the writers, 
and the general impression of the whole. In the only 
book where the compiler is consciously reviewing a 
certain period of history in the interests of a theory 
(1 and 2 Ch.) the bias is so evident and the exaggera- 
tion so glaring as compared with the more direct and 
veracious account of the same events in earlier books 
(Samuel and Kings) thaT) they are among the least 
valuable portions of the OT for spiritual purposes. 
But of the literature as a whole we may say that it is 
governed by one general and quite unconscious but 
commanding motive. Everywhere in these glowing pages 
we meet the living God in His revealing and redeeming 
agency. The fact that the Bible contains many layers 
of literary deposit, most of which can be at least 
approximately dated, enables us broadly at least to 
follow the course of this reveahng process from start 
to finish. The fact that the later editors quite honestly 
project their own rehgious outlook back to quite 
primitive times does not hinder us from disentanghng 
the various stages from each other, and marking the 
steps by which the tribal deity Yahweh is finally 
manifested as the God of the whole earth and Saviour 
of those who put their trust in Him. Viewed from a 
purely human standpoint, the Bible is an intensely 
interesting book. Its pages teem with hving, moving 
figures, all absorbed in their personal concerns, and 
working out their destinies with little idea for the 
most part that they are hnks in a chain of a great 
spiritual movement, dramatis personm in a Divine epic, 
whose protagonist is God Himself, and who are all 
being used for His own beneficent ends. It is this 
spiritual interest which binds these varied and complex 
writings into an organic whole, and justifies the OT 
(in spite of its fragmentary character) being considered 
as one Book. 

If the OT thus interprets the past history of Israel 
in the hght of a commanding and creative idea, it 
looks forward still more intensely into the future. 
From its earUest to its latest pages it is illumined by 
a mighty Hope. It is a prophetic book in the best 
sense of the term because it places the cUmax of history 
in a Day of the Lord which was to come, in the appear- 
ing of a Deliverer who would inaugurate a Heavenly 
era, in a Kingdom of God which would transform the 
world into a new heaven and a new earth wherein 
dwelleth righteousness. There is a " shadow Christ" 
in the OT whose dim and changeful features meet us 
in unexpected places, and grow clearer as the centuries 
go by ; a greater than Abraham, or Moses, or any of 
the prophets, who would one day crystallise the aspira- 
tions of the nation, and bring about a consummation 
that would make all the sorrows, disappointments, and 
tragedies of the past well worth undergoing. The 
Seed of the Woman who would crush the head of the 
serpent, the nation which was to spring from the loins 
of Abraham and become as the sand of the seashore, 
the Root of Jesse, the suffering Servant of the Lord — 
these were the nuclei or nodal points of a longing or 
dream or anticipation in the heart of Israel which 
was its most distinctive and unconquerable mood, and 
which no delay or disappointment could quench for 
long. This forward look of the OT makes it the most 
dramatio of books, especially when we remember that 



14 



THE BIBLE: ITS MEANING AND AIM 



the Hope to which it so passionately clings was never 
reaiised till long after its last pages were written (as 
well as the apocrjphal and most of the apocalyptic 
literature linking it with the NT), and which was 
reaUsed at last in a form as unexpected as it was 
complete. God fulfils Himself in many ways, but 
seldom in the way wo have laid down for Him. It 
was at once the tragedy and glory of the OT that it 
quickened in its readers an expectancy which it failed 
to satisfy. And yet unconsciously all it« lines converged 
upon Him who was the true realisation of the Hope 
of Israel, so that when His work was complete, He 
could rebuke His sorrowing disciples with their bUnd- 
ness in failing to see that it was He of whom " Moses 
and the prophets had spoken " — the Hero of the new 
covenant which was to fulfil and supersede the old — 
thi One who was to come, Deliverer and Saviour of the 
World. 

THE NEW TESTAMENT 
XII 

We have dwelt at some length on the spiritual 
aspects of the OT which make it as significant as ever 
to-day, in spite or rather with the help of the critical 
movement, because it is about the OT that the average 
man is chiefly troubled. It will not bo necessary to 
spend so much space by waj' of general introduction 
to the NT, whose reUgious significance is less affected, 
though, as a matter of fact, criticism has been as busy 
and in some directions as revolutionary in its treat- 
ment of its various books and contents. The NT 
which criticism has given back to us is a different 
book in many waj-B from what it was in the hands of 
(say) our Puritan forefathers. It has been roughly 
handled by many of the critics ; the dates of its docu- 
ments, their authorship, their genuineness and authen- 
ticity, their reliableness as history, their value aa 
teaching, have been discussed from almost every 
possible point of view ; and many of the problems 
raised are stiU largely unsettled. The main results, 
however, stand out fairly clearly. 

Christianity is a historical religion, i.e. it is based on 
the validity and spiritual significance of a series of 
facts without which it could never have arisen at all, 
and with the discredit of which it would speedily and 
finally lose its influence. Some of these facta lie, as 
we have seen, in the historical career of the people of 
Israel, whose literary deposit is found in the OT and 
apocryphal books ; the main fact indeed is Israel 
itself. Greatly as criticism has altered our conception 
of the character of this hterature, it has only empha- 
sized the crucial importance for humanity of the 
religious movement of which this remarkable people 
was the channel. Yet, important as are the facts of 
the OT, they are of httle account for us to-day in 
comparison with the facts of the NT, which are the 
fountain head of the Christian faith. How stands it 
to-day with these and with their record ? 

The importance of this problem is seen more clearly 
when we realise how entirely our religion stands or 
falls with faith in tlic person of the historical Jesus. 
Those writers who have recently been attempting to 
distinguish between the " historical Jesus " and the 
" Et«mal Christ," with a view to show that faith in 
the latter would survive the loss of the former, are 
really assuming a philosophical as opposed to a his- 
torical ba-iis for the faith, and have the testimony of 
all past ages against them. \Vhatever kind of Chris- 
tianity might survive a supposed proof that Jeeus 



never Uved, or that Ho is separable from the reUgion 
associated with His name, it would not be the Chris- 
tianity that has been influencing men so profoundly 
for ninet«en centuries. We know nothing of any 
Eternal Christ, or Christ-Principle except as the spirit 
of Jesus working out its influence in history and in 
the hearts of men ; and what " God hath joined, let 
no man put asunder." It is therefore with justifiable 
solicitude that we approach the question, how far we 
can depend on the gospel stories for reUable knowledge 
of the Person, teaching, and work of Jesus Christ, 

Leaving the dates of the particular books in question 
for individual treatment in the body of this Commen- 
tary, we will here restrict ourselves to certain broad 
facts, the relevance of which is not affected by such 
differences of judgment as exist among NT critics. 

XIU 

As regards the Synoptics {i.e. the gospels according 
to Matthew, Mark, and Luke) we have already hinted 
at some of the difficulties which make a hteralistic 
interpretation of their contents no longer possible. 
Even in the case of Mark, which in all probabihty 
contains the earliest account of the events of our 
Lord's life, and which was probably written before 
A.D. 70, we are still separated from these by nearly 
a generation of time — an interval which would permit 
of a considerable amount of transformation and con- 
fusion as regards the details. Furthermore, we are 
looking at the personality of Jesus through the eyes 
of men who had passed through a unique experience 
ot His spiritual influence upon their fives, and it is 
difficult not to feel that this experience must have 
affected their attitude towards the bare facts, jind 
more or less transfigured them in their memory. 
There are, however, certain considerations which 
modify this impression. 

1. The time in which Jesus hved was by no means 
the ilhterate age which some of the earUer critics 
imagined it to be. Deissmann {Light from the Ancient 
East) has shown that the art of writing was widely 
practised in that age by many ordinary people, who 
kept diaries, and were in the habit of jotting down 
noteworthy saj'ings and events that had come under 
their notice. There is nothing improbable, therefore, 
in the suggestion that many characteristic deeds and 
sayings of Jesus were committed to writing at the 
time, or very soon afterwards, by those who had seen 
and heard Him, and that some of them were after- 
wards collected by devoted men, thus furnishing the 
nucleus of the recollections afterwards embodied in 
the gospels. 

2. It is generally admitted that the writer of 
the second gospel was the traveUing companion 
of Paul and the " interpreter " of Pet«r, who 
knew the facta at first hand. Some critics hold that 
Mark contains an earlier document, thus bringing us 
even nearer to the events. 

3. Mt. and Lk. are not only based on Mk. (or an 
earlier writing used by Mk.) but on a collection of 
Sayings of Jesus known by scholars as Q (from the 
German Quelle, source). This was in all probability 
in existence in a.d. 51). And there were other written 
sources such aa Lk. mentions in his openinc words; 
Thus even if we cannot date Mt. and Lk. earlier than 
A.D. 85-100, there are litorarj' materials embodied in 
them which date from a period when contemporaries 
of Jesus were still alive (see art. " Synoptic l^roblem," 
pp. 672-678). 

4. We must, however, not exaggerate the value of 



THE BIBLE: ITS MEANING AND AIM 



15 



such sources, aa though they placed us indubitably in 
possession of accurate and literal transcripts of His 
words and an exact record of His deeds. There is 
still a gap between the events and the records, during 
which the memorabiha of Jesus (apart from possibly 
contemporaneous fragments) were passed from mouth 
to mouth in oral fashion, after the manner of the 
times. And while it is legitimate to lay strong emphasis 
on the remarkable character of the events, the unique 
impression of the personahty of the Master, His vivid 
and characteristic way of speaking (so splendidly 
adapted to an oral method of transmission) and the 
tenacity of memory among people drilled, as were all 
Jews from infancy, to habits of accurate verbal memory, 
we are still far from having any proof that we have the 
ipsissima verba of Jesus, or any guarantee that the 
events of His hfe are related with absolute accuracy 
in the gospels. In the case of sayings and discourses 
contained both in Mt. and Lk. there are often consider- 
able verbal differences, even when the general sense 
is the same (c/. for instance, the " Sermon on the 
Mount " in Mt. 5-7 and Lk. 620-49, etc. ; also the 
saying concerning divorce of which we have three 
versions — Mt. Ssif., Mk. lOiif., Lk. I618 — and some 
others). In certain cases we have two versions of 
similar sayings in one and the same gospel, without 
being literally identical (c/. Mt. 030 and 188). In 
some very important passages it is impossible to 
harmonise the various versions. This is particularly 
true of the stories of the Virgin Birth and of the 
Resurrection. As regards the Birth stories in Mt; 
and Lk., we find ourselves in doubt on many points, 
and there is reason to beheve that a reverent imagina- 
tion has been at work on traditional material. The 
various accounts of the Resurrection, while perfectly 
concordant and emphatic as to the fact of the empty 
grave, are very discrepant as to the place, the occasion, 
and the nature of the post-resurrection appearance of 
Jesus, where different traditions seem to have been 
followed without any attempt to reduce them to a 
harmonious whole. In Mk. 16 we have no definite 
appearances at all, except in an appendix (I69-20) 
which is almost universally held to be no part of the 
original gospel, which is indeed clearly a summary 
by a later editor of appearances given in the other 
gospels. In Mt. we are led to infer that these appear- 
ances took place in Gahlee ; in Lk. they seem to have 
taken place in Jerusalem ; according to Jn., they 
occurred in both ; while in Ac. again they are in 
Jerusalem, where the disciples are commanded to 
remain till they " receive power from on high " (re- 
ferring probably to the descent of the Spirit at Pente- 
cost). Once more it is impossible fully to harmonise all 
these accounts with the hst given by Paul in 1 Cor. 15 
5-8, which he must have collected from a much earlier 
sjid well-informed source. In view of all these facts 
it is no longer possible to insist on the literal 
accuracy of the gospel narratives ; but concerning 
the Fact behind the narratives — the authentic Per- 
sonality of Jesus Christ — there is concordant £ind 
emphatic testimony. 

XIV 

Are we, then, reduced to any serious uncertainty as 
to the historical reality of the Central Person in the 
gospel narratives, and to confess that all we have of 
Him is a maas of traditional and unreliable recollec- 
tions ? Have we nothing to say to the theorists who 
assert boldly that the Jesus of the gospels is an Ideal 
Figure evolved out of a mass of heterogeneous material 



drawn from the flotsam of other faiths, and personified 
ill the corporate imagination of the Early Church ? 

On the contrary, the very fact that we can trace so 
many of the threads of tradition, each independent of 
the other, some of which date back to within a few 
years of the alleged events, which are all woven into 
the rich gospel picture of Jesas, is in itself a sufficient 
disproof of this wild and foolish theory — surely the 
most incoherent and incredible ever invented by a 
group of irresponsible sciolists ! Granted the uncer- 
tainty of many of the details ; granted that each of the 
Synoptic writers was consciously or uncoasciously con- 
trolled in his selection of his material and his way of 
handhng it by a certain theoretic bias ; granted that 
something must be conceded to those critics who would 
lessen the miraculous element in the gospels ; even 
then more than enough remains of the authentic picture 
of Jesus to enable us to recognise Him for what He was, 
to feel the very aroma of His presence distilling from 
these living and artless pages, to realise the quality 
of His personahty, to drink in the spirit of His teaching 
and influence. The Jesus of criticism is a more credible 
figure than the Jesus of traditional faith, because we 
are released from the bondage of the letter, and thrown 
back on the intuitions of the Spirit. It is possible to 
part with some of the details of the gospel narratives 
and feel none the less secure of the central fact which 
gave those gospels their existence, which created the 
Christian Church, and which has been a renewing 
power in the hves of the countless milhons of behevers 
in all ages. Nor are we in any way forced to concede 
all that the extreme critics claim. Much of their 
attitude of dubiety is due not to the pressure of the 
evidence or to the lack of evidence, but to naturalistic 
preconceptions which force them to minimise the 
evidence itself, and to magnify the discrepancies in 
the narratives ; and those whose philosophy is of a 
more adequate kind are free to form more positive 
conclusions. 

Nor is this alL It is well to point out that the 
Christian Church was not created by the simple story 
of Jesus, but by the activity of the Rien One energising 
through His Spirit in the hearts of His people, bringing 
into its true significance for faith His earthly life, 
teaching, death, and resurrection, and transforming 
His influence from a moving and fragrant memory 
into an inward and renewing power. The existence 
of an earthly Jesus, however potent His hfe, and 
quickening Efis teaching, and exquisitely beautiful the 
ideal He revealed in His Person, woi^d never have 
produced such results as are seen in history, and which 
have continued to this day. It is that same Jeaos, 
who died and rose again, and who from the Unseen 
has been in fellows;hip with His people throughout 
the ages since. So thoroughly was tffis realised in 
the generation which followed His appearance in the 
flesh, that the greatest Christian of the time — Paul — 
seems to have realised but faintly the influence of His 
earthly Ufe, being completely possessed by the imme- 
diate fellowship and power "of His Spirit' This con- 
viction of the continued nearness and grace of the 
Risen Christ has never died out of the Church, because 
it has never been lost fioni the experience of believers. 
It has not been granted to all Christians to realise it 
with equal vividness, but it is the normal experience 
of those who hold the Christian rehgion in its integrity ; 
without it, indeed, it is impassible to account for the 
persistence, the joy, and the victory of faith throughout 
the ages. And while it is not legitimate to plead (as 
is sometimes done) that this distinctive experience of 
Christians proves the literal accuracy of the gospel 



16 



THE BIBLE: ITS MEANING AND AIM 



story in all its details, it is still riglit to say that the 
two aspects of the case mutually support and supple- 
ment each other. The Jesus of history gives us an 
objective content and standard for faith ; the Christ 
of experience gives us the spiritual quickening and 
atmosphere of faith. Without the history, faith would 
loae itself in a vague mysticism, a formless subjec- 
tivity ; without the mystic presence, we should know 
only a Jesus according to the flesh, who might fill us 
with admiration and with longing for better things, 
but who could not save us from our sins and bring us 
to newness of life. In the Fc)urth Gospel these two 
aspects of the Redeemer's activity aro brought together 
into an idealised but valid picture ; and while we 
depend less on it than on the Synoptics for the exact 
historical facta and words of Jesus (though there are 
solid additional facts and many authentic sayings of 
His given us in Jn.) it brings home to us with far greater 
emphasis the spiritual significance for faith, and the 
immanent power for living, of the Person of our Lord 
in His redeeming activity. 

XV 

We pass on to a brief characterisation of the re- 
maining portions of the NT writings. 

If in the OT we see the Unes of revelation gradually 
converging to a point of expectancy realised afterwards 
in a Person ; in the later books ol the NT we see the 
radiation of the power of this life through a community 
into the world at large. Luke gives us in Ac. a 
substantially historical account of the birth of the 
community, and of its first activities in the world. 
The book divides itself into two parts, the first a 
digest of earlier records and traditions from an unknown 
Bource, deaUng with the origins of the Christian Church 
and of its extension in various directions ; the second 
a personal narrative of Paul's missionary journeys by 
a companion who was manifestly a competent observer 
and vivid retailer of the facts. This writer is identical 
with the author of Lk., as is shown by the preface to 
both books and by innumerable peculiarities of style 
and diction. The earlier chapters contain matenal 
which some critics consider to be the oldest written 
portions of the NT, and though the speeches of Peter 
and others are probably condensed and edited versions 
of the speaker's words, there is every reason to beUeve 
that they are substantially accurate, and faithfully 
represent in form and substance the first preaching of 
the Gospel. In spite of a few discrepancies between 
some of the later portions {e.g. the account of the 
apostolic council in Ac. 15) and certain allusions in 
Paul's epistles to the same events, the impression 
made by his personaUty in both sources is the same. 
When both are studied, Paul stands out before us 
with a vividness second only to the figure of Jesus in 
the gospels, in a portrait of self -evidencing truth and 
power. And to know Jesus and Paul is to be put in 
possession of the central personalities through whose 
influence historical Christianity took its rise. The 
creative force comes from Jesus ; the main condition- 
ing channel is found in Paul. For whether he Uterally 
knew Jesus in the flesh or not, it is certain that he 
entered more deeply into the spiritual significance of 
His life and work than any of the men who came into 
daily contact with Him during His earthly ministry. 

It is from this point of view that we see the trans- 
cendent importance for the Christian faith, both 
historical and experimental, of the Pauline epistles. 
They present us with the incipient phase of the second 
stage in the redeeming work of Christ — when the 



limitations of His flesh were removed, when from the 
unseen world into which He was taken He began to 
energise through His Spirit in the life of individual 
believers, and of the Cfjrporate Church. Hitherto He 
had been with His followers in bodily presence ; hence- 
forth He was to be in them, a quickening spirit. It 
was Paul's function to be able to give more or less 
adequate expression, in words of Uving power, to the 
operation of this spirit in the heart of a man supremely 
sensitive to this heavenly influence, and deUcately 
responsive to its touch. He is, however, not the only 
member of the gifted company who were possessed 
by the new faith, to formulate their experience in 
written form. In 1 P. we have another version of 
the same experience, from one who had known Jesus 
intimately according to the flesh, and who entered 
deeply into the power of the risen life (2 P. stands in 
a diflperent category). We have still another version in 
the Epistle to the Hebrews, in which we see the same 
influence at work from a different angle ; and still 
others in the brief but richly-laden epistles of John, 
and in the epistles of Jude and James. The last in 
the order of books in the NT — the Revelation of John — 
stands by itself as an instance of the copious apocalyptic 
literature of the time, but lifted above all its compeers 
through the profound experience of the exalted Christ 
which breathes through its lurid imagery and exalted 
rhapody. These books are clearly stamped with the 
individuality of their writers, which is in no wise 
obscured by the common experience which marks 
them all as men possessed by the Spirit of Jesus. 
They have survived the abundant literary deposits of 
the earhest ages of Christianity because they bear the 
fresh and original stamp of that unique Presence on 
their pages ; and they speak to us to-daj' with an 
emphasis that never fails, with an inspiration that is 
still unspent, of an experience repeated in each genera- 
tion of beUeving men and women. The traditional 
theory of the authorship and date of some of them is 
no longer generally accepted, but no criticism can 
interfere with the function which they are qualified 
to fulfil in the live-! of those who would know Jesus 
in the power of the Spirit and realise in their lives the 
energies of His redeeming grace. 

The aim of this article is to put the reader of 
the following commentary into that attitude of mind 
and heart which will best enable him to benefit by its 
presentation of the Bible from the modem standpoint. 
There are many other aspects of the great Book of 
absorbing interest and far-reaching importance that 
might be touched on if space permitted — such as its 
influence on literature, on art, on science, on legislation, 
on social and political reform, on home life, in all the 
languages and lands into which it has been translated, 
and in which it is read. These, however, are secondary 
aspects of its function in the world ; the primary is 
ever its potency as a fountain of spiritual inspiration, 
of religious renewal. As regards this it still stands 
alone in hterature ; and when once the unavoidable dis- 
turbance occasioned by the critical movement has died 
down, and mens vision has been adjusted to the new 
perspectives into which the Book has been arranged, 
we can confidently prophesy that in the future, as in 
the past, its revelation of God to man, of man to 
himself as the subject of a Divine redemption flowing 
from the Person and Cross of Christ, will continue to 
shine forth with an undimmed and ever-growing lustre. 

Literature.— Peake, A, S., The BibU, it^ Origin, 
Significance, mid Abiding Worth ; A Guide to BilAical 
Study. Dods, M., The Bible, its Origin and Xature. 
Boyd Carpenter, IrUroduction to the Study of Holy 



THE BIBLE: ITS MEANING AND AIM 



17 



Scripture. Bruce, A. B., TJie Chief End of Revelation. 
Smith, G. A., Modern Criticism and the Preaching of 
the OT. M'Fadyen, J. E., OT Criticism and the 
Christian Church. Kent, C. F., 77i€ Origin and Per- 
manent Value of the OT. Briggs, C. A., General Intro- 
duction to the Study of Holy Scripture. Carpenter, J. E., 
The Bible in the Nineteenth Century. Ryle, H. E., On 
Holy Scripture and Criticism. Moulton, R. G., The 
Moclern Reader's Bible ; The Literary Study of the Bible. 
Swete, H. B., Cambridge Biblical Essays (esp. oh. 16). 
Arnold, M., Literature and Dogma ; God and the Bible. 
Farrar, F. W., The Bible, its Meaning and Supremacy. 
Wood, Jos., What the Bible is and what it is not. 



Hicks, E. S., The Bible Literature in the Light of 
Modern Knowledge. McLachlan, H., The New Testa- 
ment and Modern Knowledge. Driver and Kirkpatrick, 
Tlie Higher Criticism. Art. " Bible " in EB, ERE, etc. 
Von Dobschutz, E., The Influence of the Bible on 
Civilisation, Stoddart, Jane T., The OT in Life and 
Literature ; The NT in Life and Literature. Gamble, 
J., The Spiritual Sequence of the Bible. Cheyne, T. K., 
Aids to the Devout Study of Criticism. Cohu, J. R., 
The OT in the Light of Modern Research. Jordan, 
W. G., Biblical Criticism and Modem Thought. 
Blakiston, The Bible of To-day. Selbic, W. B., The 
Nature and Message of the Bible. 



THE BIBLE AS LITERATURE 



By Professor W. H. HUDSON 



Prboccitation with theological considerations has 
too long prevented the English reader from appreci- 
ating the immense importance of the Bible from the 
purely literary side. Yet the Bible is a great body of 
literature of value to the student for three reasons. 
(1) Because of its intrinsic interest. Except for the 
literature of Greece and the derivative literature of 
Rome, the Bible contains the finest literature which has 
survived from ancient times. Its contents are, of course, 
extremely unequal. Much of it as literature is indifferent 
or poor. But its high levels are very high indeed. 
Job, for example, is ono of the world's outstanding 
masterpieces ; the Song of Deborah, though the text 
is unfortunately imperfect, ranks among the grandest 
of triumphal odes ; among the Psalms are to be found 
some of the greatest of all religious lyrics ; while many 
passages in the Prophets are unsurpassed for nobility 
of thought combined with sublimity of expression. At 
ita best Hebrew literature is matched only by Greek 
among the literatures of antiquity. (2) Because it is 
the literature of a unique race. Another unique race, 
the Greeks, were endowed beyond all other early 
peoples with the intellectual and aesthetic conscious- 
ness. The Hebrews, beyond all other early peoples, 
were endowed with the spiritual consciousness. For 
this reason (3) the Bible Ls one of the two foundation 
literatures of the modem western world. We are all 
familiar with the two streams of influence which have 
combined in our culture, and which, in Matthew 
Arnold's phraseology, we call Hellenism and Hebraism: 
Hellenism representing the intellectual and aesthetic, 
Hebraism the religious and moral sides of such culture. 
Historically, the sources of these are to be found, the 
one in tlie literature and art of Greece, the other in the 
literature of the Hebrews. The place of Hebrew litera- 
ture in world-literature is thus apparent. " The Bible 
has been an active force in English literature for over 
1200 years " (A. S. Cook). Aji argument often used 
to justify the " classics " in education is that acquaint- 
ance with them is essential to the understanding of 
English literature. This argument will apply equally 
to the study of the Bible. Hebrew literature has 
indeed had practically no influence on the form and 
technique of our literature, though since the authorised 
translation, it has been a moulding force in the style 
of many writers. But it has exerted a profound influ- 
ence over its matter and spirit. One illustration will 
suffice to show the importance of the Bible from this 
point of view. Paradise Lost is unquestionably the 
greatest poem in our language. Now it is rightly said 
that wc cannot really imderstand Paradise Lost with- 
out some knowledge of the Greek and Latin epics on 
which it was structurally founded and of the classic 
learning upon which it continually draws. But neither 
can we understand it without an intimate knowledge 
of the Bible, to which its direct indebtedness is at 
least as great. 



In considering here some aspects of the Bible as 
literature, wc shall deal mamly with OT as the more 
important of its two divisions on the purely literary 
side. 

Stress must, to begin with, be laid upon the fact that 
OT is not a book, but a collection of books. It is a 
library of what remains of the literature of the ancient 
Hebrew people. It is important to remember that it 
contains only what remains of that literature. It ia 
certainly not a complete collection of Hebrew writings. 
The Hebrews were a poetical race ; and we may, there- 
fore, take it for granted that whatever interested them 
deeply in social and domestic life, in times of peace 
and war, would find expression in various forms of 
verse. They must, like other early peoples, have had 
their war songs, national songs, ballads of the great 
deeds of popular heroes ; songs of spring, harvest, the 
vintage ; marriage songs, dirges for the dead. Many 
traces of this miscellaneous poetry are. in fact, to be 
found in OT. We know, for instance, that poetry was 
made to minister to idleness and luxury (Am. 65) and 
even to the most ignoble pleasures (Is. 23 15). Refer- 
ence is also made to two anthologies, of which other- 
wise nothing is known — the Book of the Wars of the 
Lord (Nu. 2I14) and the Book of Jashar (Jos. IO13, 
2 S. I18) ; and we may safely assume that other such 
collections existed of folk-songs and sagas of the 
Hebrew people. With speculations about this lost 
literature we have indeed no immediate concern. But 
it is essential to bear in mmd that the selections which 
now represent Hebrew literature were made by men 
who cared nothing about purely literary values, but 
had the religious welfare of the nation entirely at 
heart. What has been preserved, therefore, was pre- 
served either on account of its religious and national 
significance, or because of its association (real or 
imaginary) with certain great names. To this latter 
circumstance we owe the survival of sundry pieces of 
literature which otherwise would certainly have dis- 
appeared ; such as the lament of David for Saul and 
Jonathan (2 S. 1), which is not a religious {joem at all, 
but simply a very lino personal elegy ; tiie Song of 
Songs, a collection of love lyrics, which luckily got 
the name of Solomon, and was presently allegorised ; 
and Ecclasiastes. which is strikingly out of harmony 
with the general spirit of Hebrew literature, and also 
owes its place in the Canon — a place which it has kept 
with difficulty (pp. 3Sf.) — to its traditional ascription 
to the much-experienced king. 

Taking this surviving literature as it stands, we are, 
of course, impressed by its general unity of aim and 
spirit ; its component parts broadly resemble one 
another in so many ways in which they differ from 
all other literatures. This is precisely what we should 
expect, since OT is a body of national literature. But 
what do we mean by a national literature ? The 
present writer has elsewhere answered this question : 



THE BIBLE AS LITERATURE 



19 



" A nation's literature is not a miscellaneous collection 
of books which happen to have been written in the 
same tongue, or within a given geographical area. It 
is the progressive revelation, age by age, of such 
nation's mind and character. An individual writer 
may vary very greatly from the national type. . . . 
But Ilia genius will still partake of the characteristic 
spirit of his race, and in any number of representative 
writers at any given time that spirit will be felt as a 
well-defined quality pervading them all. We talk of 
the Greek spirit and the Hebrew spirit. By this we 
do not, of course, suggest that all Greeks thought and 
felt in the same way, that all Hebrews thought and 
felt in the same way. We simply mean that, when all 
differences as between man and man have been can- 
celled, there remains in each case a clearly recognised 
substratum of racial character, a certain broad element 
common to all Greeks as Greeks and to all Hebrews as 
Hebrews" [Introduction to tJie Study of Literature, 
p. 40). Two points brought out in this passage have 
to be emphasized. As a national literature, Hebrew 
literature is the expression of fundamental and per- 
manent racial qualities ; and since its production 
extended over a long period of time, it contains a 
progressive revelation of the Hebrew mind and char- 
acter. This latter consideration will serve to remind 
us that, studied historically, Hebrew literature enables 
us to follow the development of Hebrew ideas ; as, 
e.g. the evolution of the idea of God out of the crude 
conceptions preserved in early legends into the fine 
ethical monotheism of the prophets of the eighth and 
seventh centuries. This historic aspect of Hebrew 
literature is, however, too large a subject to be dealt 
with here. The reader will be able to study it for 
himself with the help provided by other articles in 
this volume. We must confine our attention to the 
broad interest of Hebrew literature as the expression 
of the mind and character of the Hebrew people. 

This is not indeed the place to attempt any detailed 
analysis of their racial psychology, but a few of their 
most salient qualities may be indicated. (1) The 
Hebrews were an Oriental people, and, like all Oriental 
peoples, they were hot-blooded, passionate, and intense. 
What they felt, they felt strongly. They were often 
swept away by their emotions. Their confidence and 
their despair alike went to extremes. They were 
capable of the deepest piety, love, and zeal. But they 
were capable too of deep malevolence, and, like Shylock, 
they were good haters. Recognition of this is import- 
ant in our study of Hebrew poetry in particular, in 
which moods and passions are expressed with an un- 
restraint and vehemence which were i)erfectly natural 
to the writers, but which to us, of a different blood 
and training, often seem violent and extravagant. 
(2) Immense pride of race was another fundamental 
characteristic. The Hebrew has been called a mag- 
nificent egotist. But his was not personal, but racial 
egotism. One of his dominant thoughts was that he 
belonged to the Chosen People, and the past and future 
of his nation were a consuming passion with him. 
This racial pride was intimately bound up with (3) his 
devotion to Yahweh. He had an abiding sense of the 
living God. That God for him was no abstraction 
but a concrete reality. We think of his conception of 
God Eis anthropomorphic, and so it was. But the 
essential thing to remember ia not the philosophic 
limitation of the Hebrews thought but his profound 
realisation of God as personal ruler and judge. 

Yet while Hebrew literature has the unity of its 
racial qualities, it has also great diversity. Aa the 
most casual examination shows, OT is composed of 



books written at different times, in different circum- 
stances, in different forms, and by writers of very 
different aims and spirit. Though our ordinary way of 
treating the Bible as one and indivisible makes it 
difficult for us to realise this diversity, full appreciation 
of it is a preliminary condition to the study of OT as 
literature. And this brings us to another fact, of 
significance from our present point of view. Though 
every great body of national literature has its distinc- 
tive features, yet in a broad way all literatures have 
much in common, because they are bom of the same 
human impulses and deal (with marked variations of 
selection and emphasis, of course) with subjects of 
interest to men everywhere and at all times. Hence, 
as we should expect, OT presents many of the familiar 
types of literary expression which we may compare 
with the same t37pes in other literatures ; as, e.g. narra- 
tive literature in the forms of history, Ijiography, and 
story ; Ijnical poetry, chiefly of a religious kind ; 
didactic literature (Pr.) ; the literature of reflection 
and speculation (Ec, Job) ; the literature of oratory 
(orations of Moses) ; the Literature of exhortation and 
appeal (Prophets) ; and, in addition, a vast body of 
writing dealing with legislation, ritual, and cere- 
monial, which does not come under the head of general 
literature any more, let us say, than Blackstone's 
Commentaries. Of these types one only stands out 
as in any way exceptional, and that is prophetic 
literature, which we are apt to think of as entirely 
Biblical, and which is indeed, from the literary side, 
the distinctive product of Hebrew genius, as satire 
was of Roman genius. Yet even prophetic literature 
is not without its modem counterparts. This is 
apparent when we remember that prophecy is not to 
be narrowly confused with prediction, which was indeed 
but a small and by no means essential element in it. 
Prophecy was really the utterance of God's wiU 
through the mouth of one inspired for the purpose, 
the prophet being the spokesman of the Lord (Ex. 7i, 
c/. Am. 37). The function of the prophets, broadly 
viewed, was spiritual leadership — the proclamation of 
the higher spiritual realities to a generation blind and 
deaf to them. What is peculiar in prophetic literature 
is that it presents itself as the medium of a direct 
Divine message. (" Thus saith the Lord " ; " The 
word of the Lord came unto Zephaniah," etc.) But, 
apart from this, we may find many close analogies to 
prophetic literature not only in the sermon of the 
modem Church, but also in the more general literature 
of denunciation and appeal. In this large sense the 
race of the prophets has never been extinct. Carlyle, 
for example, is often described as a Hebrew prophet 
bom into the nineteenth century, and the phrase, far 
from being merely rhetorical, points to an essential 
kinship between our great modem preacher of righte- 
ousness and such a man as, e.g. Hosea. Like the 
Hebrew prophets, too, Carlyle dealt freely with social, 
economic, and political, no less than with religious 
and moral questions. It will help us greatly to 
humanise the prophets and to bring their message and 
its meaning home to us, if we think of them in this 
way. An interesting detail may be sidded. There has 
always been and always will be a certain inevitable 
antagonism between men of the highly spiritual and 
mystical type (like the prophets and Carlyle) and men 
of the scientific and rationalistic type. We recall in 
illustration Carlyle's attacks upon Mill, Darwin, and 
the scientific spirit generally. It is much to the point, 
then, to remember that such conflict already existed 
in ancient Israel ; for the prophets were markedly 
unfavourable to the Wise Men — tiie " Humanists " — of 



20 



THE BIBLE AS LITERATURE 



Israel ; the representativea, so far as it existed, of the 
rationalistic spirit (Is. 29i4, Jer. 89, 923). 

But OT literature shows the limitations as well as 
the positive qualities of the Hebrew genius. With all 
their great gifts, the Hebrews were singularly lacking 
in disinterested intellectual curiosity — in the love of 
knowledge for its own sake. Hence philosophy as we 
understand it, and as it was understood by the Greeks, 
had no existence among them : their nearest approach 
to philosophic literature being in the " Wisdom "' books. 
A more serious gap is loft by the absence of drama, 
perhaps the greatest of all literary forms, at any rate 
the form in which some of the world's greatest work 
has been done, in both ancient and modem times. 
The genius of the Hebrew was essentially subjective, 
not creative. Hence there is nothing in OT literature 
to compare with Sophocles or Shakespeare. Such 
dramatic power as the Hebrews possessed must be 
sought in other directions : in narrative, in passages 
in the prophets (see later), and especially in Job. The 
last-named is indeed often regarded aa fundamentally 
a drama. But even here religious speculation takes 
the place of plot interest, while the characterisation is 
slight ; the friends of Job not being sharply individual- 
ised, and a marked lack of consistency existing between 
the Job of the Prologue and the Job of the Colloquies. 

A few of the principal tyjies of OT literature may 
now bo considered. We will begin with narrative. 

We need not be surprised that so much of OT 
(roughly, one half) consists of narrative. All early 
peoples, as soon as they come to national self-conscious- 
ness, begin to collect chronicles of their wars, of im- 
portant events in their history, of the doings of their 
gjeat historic and legendary heroes. Now with the 
early Hebrews national self-consciousness was very 
strong, and naturally, therefore, they offer no exception 
to the general rule. Hence the large amount of history 
and — since all early history is written largely \vith an 
eye to the " great man " — of biography in their litera- 
ture. All early peoples, moreover, love a story, and 
the love of a story has always been especially strong 
in the East, the great home of the story-teller. As an 
early Oriental people, the Hebrews were again no 
exception to the general rule. Hence the prominence 
of the story in their literature. Much of their storj' 
literature (often with difficulty distinguished from 
biography) is embedded in their historical writings ; 
for Israel's historians, like other early historians, were 
accustomed to connect imiJortant event« with the 
names of their national heroes. Thus, e.g. we have 
the tribal tales which became attached to the names 
of the patriarchs — the Abraham cycle (Gen. 12-24) ; 
the Isaac cycle (Gen. 21-24) ; the Jacob cycle (Gen. 27- 
33, 47), etc. ; heroic legends, like that of Samson ; and 
stories more or less closely bound up with their his- 
torical context, suchas the story of Balaam (Nu. 22-24) ; 
of Gideon (Jg. 6-8) ; of Jcphthah and his daughter 
(Jg. 11). But such narrative literature is also repre- 
sented by three regular story-books, " rare survivors 
of a larger literature of this kind" (Moore) — Esther, 
Ruth, and Jonah. To these have to be added Judith 
and To bit among the Apocrj-pha. 

Dealing first with history, we have to notice a form 
of this kind of narrative writing which, strictly speak- 
ing, cannot be classed as literature at all — in the 
chronicles which were meant merely for record and the 
preservation of noteworthy events. Such official annals 
were habitually aa brief and bald as those kept for 
the same purpose in the monasteries of the Middle 
Ages. Two secretaries are mentioned among the 
officials of Solomon's court (1 K. 43), whose duty waa 



in part that of chroniclers. Such official records were, 
however, useful aa sources for later writers (1 K. II41, 
1429, 2 K. 2O20). For an illustration of this kind of 
chronicle writing we may turn to 1 Ch. 1-9, which 
contains a series of genealogies beginning with patri- 
archal times, notices respecting the families, history, 
and military strength of the several tribes, and a list 
of the principal families residing in Jerusalem after the 
Exile. Similarly we have a list of the families which 
returned to Jerusalem in Neh. 7, and of the inhabitants 
of Jerusalem and other settlements, and of priests and 
Levites, in 11 and 12. Such lists were of great interest 
at the time, especially those which enabled the inhabi- 
tants of difEerent locaUties to trace their liedigreee 
back to remote days. But mere records like these, of 
course, have no title to be treated as literary art. 

An important stage in the evolution of real history 
out of such dry annaUstic materials is marked by 
Kings, which, though regular narrative, is still rela- 
tively formal and brief. This is brought out by com- 
parison with Samuel. Kings covers nearly 400 years ; 
Samuel in about the same spatce little more than a 
single lifetime. 

The fully developed history of the Hebrews can bo 
studied to great advantage in Samuel ; aa, e.g., in the 
whole story of David. Judged simply aa narrative— 
aa we should judge Herodotus — this is an excellent, 
and in places even brilliant, example of early literary 
art. Rapid, vivid, engrossing, at times it rises to real 
dramatic power in the handling of a critical situation, 
while its characterisation (as, eg., in Absalom and 
Adonijah) is given in bold, clear outlines. Even 
Herodotus, the father of history, never wrote anything 
better. Yet, like Herodotus, and unlike our modem 
historians, this Hebrew writer keeps throughout to a 
plain, direct, and simple style of composition. His 
facts are set down, his story is told in a way to exhibit 
their meaning, but there is little elaboration of detail 
or psychological analysis. An interesting comparison 
is naturally suggested here, which will help to show the 
difference between ancient and modem methods in 
dealing with the same theme : Browning's long and 
intricate Saul, with all its subtleties of interpretation 
and exhaustive dissection of mental states, is built up 
on the slender foundations furnished by I S. I614-23. 

It will be noted that in Hebrew history the common 
praetice is adopted of blending dialogue with narrative, 
to the great gain of the whole ; for dialogue always 
adds life to the; characters and realism to the story. 
Good examples are pro\ided by the interview between 
David and Saul, before the former goes out to fight 
Goliath (1 S. 17 32-39), and the verbal passage of arms 
between the two champions before the combat (43- 
48). Such interchange of defiance closely resembles 
similar preludes to single combats between representa- 
tive champions of many times and countries (c/. e.g.. 
Arnold's Sohrab and iiustum). Also, like the his- 
torians of Greece and Rome, the Hebrew writers put 
speeches into the mouths of their chief characters on 
important occasions. Thus we have the orations of 
Moses (Dt. 5-2G, 27f., 292. 31;) ; the valedictions of 
Moses (Dt. 33), of Jacob ((Jen. 492-27), of Joshua 
(Jos. 23), of Samuel (1 S. 12); Samuel's sermons 
(1 S. 8, 12); Nathans address to David (2 S. 7); 
Ahijah's warnings (1 K. 1 1. 14) ; the prayer of Solomon 
at the dedication of the Temple (1 K. 812). In- 
numerable further examples of such speeches will be 
foiuid in Ch., Ezr., and Neh. And. as with the Greek 
and Roman historians, such intercalated speeches are 
often composed or edited from the point of view of 
the writer and his time, and are, in faot, designed as 



THE BIBLE AS LITERATURE 



21 



commentaries upon the historical narrative. Thus 
Solomon's prayer is the expression of ideas which did 
not take shape in Israel till three hundred years after 
Solomon's death. Under this same head we may in- 
clude some of the cases in which God is introduced as 
actually talking with men. Many of these are, of 
course, only older legends preserved by later writers ; 
but the device is also used by the historian to bring 
out and emphasize the Divine meaning which he wishes 
his narrative to convey : as, e.g., in the account of the 
covenant of God with Abraham (Gen. 17), and of the 
commission to Moses (Ex. 62-13) 

This carries us from the methods to the purposes of 
Hebrew history. In general terms it may be said that 
nearly all Hebrew history was written with a didactic 
intention and with a direct relation to national religion 
or institutions. Sometimes it is used as a sort of 
framework for the Mosaic legislation, as in Numbers 
and Deuteronomy. Sometimes it is employed to ex- 
plain the institutions of Israel by connecting them 
with great events or persons. Thus the institution of 
the Sabbath is explained (Gen. 23, Ex. 20ii) ; the 
establishment of the Passover (Ex. 12) ; the founda- 
tion of the Mosaic law in the Decalogue (Ex. 193fE., 
Dt. 52ff.). This is a very common practice with early 
peoples. iEschylus, for example, in his Libation 
Bearers, assigns a Divine origin to the great court of 
the Areopagus, by exhibiting its foundation by Pallas 
Athene for the trial of Orestes. 

But the most important thing to remember is, that 
the great underlying purpose of Hebrew history is to 
provide a religious philosophy teaching by examples. 
The larger part of Hebrew history is indeed written 
expressly to illustrate and enforce the truths enunciated 
by Hosea in the eighth century and Jeremiah in the 
seventh. The central thought of this philosophy was, 
that so long as God's people remained faithful to their 
covenant with Him, all was well with them ; but that 
whenever they were faithless to that covenant and 
forsook Him for false gods, then God sent evil upon 
them as a punishment for their sin. The numerous 
calamities of Israel were thus interpreted as the direct 
consequences of national apostacy and wrongdoing 
(c/. Hosea's oracle, 22-23, and Jer. 2). Judges and 
Kings are written as a running commentary upon this 
doctrine, and examination will show how the writers 
dwell upon every incident which will serve to support 
their thesis. The didactic purpose is indeed the de- 
termining factor in their work ; it is evident that they 
think a great deal more of the religious lesson of a 
given incident than of the incident itself. Thus in 
2 K. 17, the fall of Samaria is very briefly described 
(1-6), but a long moral gloss is appended (7-41). In 
Chronicles this reading of history becomes harder and 
narrower, and in such cases as Asa and the gout and 
Uzziah and the leprosy it is individualised. This re- 
minds us that the root idea of the Hebrew philosophy 
of history had by this time become also the root idea 
of Hebrew personal ethics. For the Hebrew thinker, 
Gk>d was good, and must, therefore, govern the world 
in the interests of the good man. When widening 
observation and experience shook the confidence of 
the Hebrew in this simple syllogism, a good deal of 
disturbance in thought followed, and the sceptical note 
found its way into Hebrew literature. This may be 
seen in some of the Psalms, especially the " Asaph " 
Psalms (e.g. 73). in Ecclesiastea, and in Job, which 
waa indeed written to challenge this narrow and over- 
facile orthodox view. 

Of course this philosophy of history waa made pos- 
sible only by the intense feeling of the Hebrews regard- 



ing the reality of God and His law, and by the fact 
that, tracing everything directly to Him, they entirely 
ignored all secondary causes and efEects. Yet sub- 
stantially the same philosophy appears, under a some- 
what different phraseology, in recent literature in the 
writings of Carlyle : evidence of the profound influence 
of OT upon one of the greatest moral writers of 
modem times. 

For reasons stated, it Ls very difficult for the student 
of Hebrew literature to detach biography from the 
historical narrative in which it is embedded. For the 
Hebrew writer, the personal element in fact furnished 
the backbone of his subject. " Remove from the his- 
torical books the biographies of Samuel, Saul, David, 
Solomon, Jeroboam, Ahab, Elijah, Elisha, Jehu, 
Hezekiah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Nehemiah, and Ezra, and 
little besides bare statistics and the record of three or 
four important events in the history of the people 
remains " (Kent, Israel's Historical and Biographical 
Narratives, p. 5). The biographies, however, so branch 
out into history and get entangled with it that most of 
them might be fittingly entitled (in the formula often 
used by modem writers) " The Life and Times of " 
So-and-So. We have an excellent example in " The 
Life and Times of Samuel "(IS. 1-12, 16, 28). The 
stories of Elijah (1 K. 17-19, 2 K. I, 2) may be treated 
as together forming a biography of one of the most 
striking and picturesque figures in OT, and this again 
is bound up with history. Nehemiah is in part com- 
posed of what to-day we should describe as Personal 
Memoirs. 

With regard to the manner and style of these his- 
torical and biographical narratives, it is evident that 
we must distinguish broadly between the earlier narra- 
tives and those of the later priestly writers. We are 
often able to compare the two in parallel accounts of 
the same events, as, e.g., the two records of the creation 
in Gen. li-24a and 246-25. The latter of these is the 
earlier prophetic narrative, and analysis will show that 
it is concrete, homely, realistic ; the former is the 
later priestly version, and in comparison is abstract, 
formal, solemn, stately. Such are the general differ- 
ences between the two classes of writing throughout, 
as again, e.g., in the two accounts of the promise to 
Abraham (of which that in Gen. 18 is the early pro- 
phetic, that in 17 the later priestly). Almost all the 
earlier stories represent, of course, the more primitive 
stages of thought, but in these we have the finest 
examples of early narrative — rapid, naive, vivid. The 
account of the appearance of Yahweh to Abraham may 
be cited as an admirable illustration. Nothing could 
be simpler, and at the same time nothing could be 
more picturesque, than the description of the patriarch 
sitting at his tent door in the heat of the day ; of 
the appearance of the three strangers whom he hastens 
forward to greet ; of the hospitality which he extends 
towards them. It is the perfection of absolute sim- 
plicity in story-telling ; the thing is done with a few 
broad strokes and without the slightest elaboration of 
detail ; but it is so done that its appeal to the imagina- 
tion is irresistible. It is the same kind of picturesque 
simplicity that so often delights us in Homer ; as in 
the famous scene in the 9th Iliad, in which Achilles 
and Patroklos entertain the heralds from Agamemnon. 

The story of Rebecca at the well, of Jacob and E^u. 
of Jephthah, of Samson, of David and Saul, of Elisha, 
of Naaman, of Gchazi, may be mentioned as further 
illustrations of this earlier type of narrative, for though 
some of these are, of course, much more highly elabo- 
rated than others, they all belong to the same general 
class. A.S examples of the priestly style, with its 



22 



THE BIBLE AS LITERATURE 



bare and unimnginativo handliDK of its materials, ita 
greater solemnity, and its marked tondency towards 
abstraction, wo may cite God's covenant with Noah 
(read side by side, the two flood stories will be found 
to disclose all the differences in stylo of which I have 
spoken) ; Abraham's p\irchase of a family burying- 
place (Gen. 23) ; and the commission to Moses in 
Ex. 6 (which should bo compared with tho variant 
account in 3f.). 

Tho student is advised to make a careful analysis of 
one of the greater OT narratives, such as the wonderful 
Btory of Joseph, and ho will find that the literary 
characteristics of Hebrew narrative are those of early 
narrative art in general. Plainness, directness, and 
simplicity are the outstanding features. There is no 
unnecessary elaboration of the materials, yet in really 
great scenes (like the recognition scene between Joseph 
and his brothers) the dramatic power exhibited is of 
a very high and fine quality. The characters are por- 
trayed in bold and broad outlines, and generally 
through what they say and do ; minute psychological 
analysis (such as we get in modern fiction) being con- 
spicuously absent, as in all early narrative writing. 
And, as in all early narrative writing, there is little 
description ; the setting and background of an action 
may be suggested, but there is no introduction of 
scenery for its own sake, and none of the landscape- 
painting and the local colouring which are so prominent 
in modem literary art. 

The great value of this early kind of story-telling as 
a permanent school of taste should be clearly under- 
stood. Our own literature is commonly marked by 
immense complexity ; our taste has grown sophisti- 
cated, and we are in danger of losing all appreciation 
of simplicity. This is one of Tolstoi's main conten- 
tions in his What is Art ? Taking the story of Joseph 
as an example, he insists that here we have all the 
fundamentals of a story, and that as a story it is all 
the better because it is not encumbered by those 
masses of detail — of description, analysis, commen- 
tary — which, he argues, destroy instead of helping the 
effect of modern narratives. He points out that we 
have no description of Joseph's home, of his tunic, or 
of the person or toilette of Potiphar's wife ; and he 
maintains that the absence of these things is an 
advantage, since nothing unimportant is interposed 
between the really human elements in the drama and 
the reader's imagination and sympathies. And then 
he contrasts modem fiction, in which we have to dis- 
engage the really human elements from the mass of 
non-essential accessories witli which they are burdened. 
We are not bound, of course, to accept Tolstoi's chief 
contention that our modem art is all wrong, and that 
this early kind of art is alone right. Such a view 
would be reactionary, and would condemn some of the 
greatest things in modern literature, including Tolstoi's 
own masterpiece. Anna Karenina. But to keep our 
taste unspoilt tho discipline of the older and simpler 
kinds of art Ls indispensable. For this reason, the 
modem reader i.s often advised, very judiciously, to 
turn back from time to time to his Iliad and his 
Odyssey. But, after all, he is not obliged to go to 
Homer. Ho will find ample material for his purpose 
in the story literature of OT. 

We pass on to Hebrew narrative literature, as repre- 
sented in those OT story-books which survive out of a 
much larger literature of the same kind, and which 
" suffice to give us a notion of the popular reading of the 
Jews in tho last centuries before tho Christian era " 
(Moore, 134f .). These books are dealt with in detail in 
the commentaries on them, and one of them— Jonah — 



need not detain us here. Confining our attention to the 
purely literary a.s{>ect8 of the other two, wo have speci- 
ally to note that while Ruth and Father are both marked 
by those common characteristics which, as we have seen, 
distinguish early story-telling from modem, yet the 
differences between them are such as to make them 
extremely interesting for comparative study. That 
they differ in matter and spirit is, of course, obvious ; 
the one is a pastoral idyl, tiio other a brilliant romance 
of court intrigue ; the one Ls tilled with the tendcrest 
humanity, the other overtiows with the most ferocious 
spirit of national hatred and bigotry. But what con- 
cerns the literary student more than this Ls, that whether 
or not actually tho later of the two in date, Esther 
represents a much latcn- stage in the evolution of story- 
writing as an art. It is indeed by far the most 
advanced example of narrative to be found in OT. 
Contrast its opening with that of Rutli, and the highly- 
developed character of ita techniiiue will at once be 
apparent. In Ruth all the preliminary matter is put 
into a short paragraph, and tho method is the old, 
simple, direct method of the child's story — " Once upoa 
a time there was a man named so-and-so " — and so on. 
In Esther the introduction is long, elaborate, and 
skilful. There is a full description (and the amplifica- 
tion of the descriptive element should be noted) of 
the great feast given by Ahasuerus, which is clearly 
designed to bring out, as it docs bring out most vividly, 
the power and magnificence of the king and the Oriental 
splendour of his court. Such difference in handling 
will be found throughout. In Ruth, again, tho char- 
acter-drawing is quite broad and simple. In Esther — 
as notably in the finely contrasted studies of Haman 
and Mordecai — there is much of the subtlety of modem 
work. In Ruth tho story moves forward with an art- 
lessness which, for the reader of to-day, is one of ita 
chief charms ; the scene of tho gleaning and the inci- 
dent of Ruth Ijang at Boaz's feet being described with- 
out effort on the writer's part, and loft to make their own 
impression. (The reader may compare Victor Hugo's 
expansion of tho latter incident in his Booz Endormi.) 
In Esther, a complicated plot is managed with con- 
summate skill and an extraordinary sense of dramatic 
values. Evident throughout, this is especially so in 
the account of Haman s downfall. There is dramatic 
irony as fine as any to be found in Greek tragedy in 
the interview between Haman and the king after the 
king's sleepless night, while the hanging of Haman on 
the very gallows which he had prepared for his enemy 
is a tremendously effective stroke. 

Before leaving narrative, we must note the curious 
fact that surviving Hebrew literature furnishes no 
example of the epic, or long tale in verse. We call 
this curious because in most literatures the epic is tho 
first form of extended narrative composition ; and it 
is the more curious because tho epic existed in Baby- 
lonian literature, to which the Hebrews were much 
indebted. But though wo have no true epic in OT, we 
have what R. G. Moulton has called the " mixed epic," 
in which the narrative proper is in prose, but wliich, 
in places when the emotional element becomes strong, 
rises into verse. The groat example of this is the 
story of Balaam (Nu. 22-24). Such combination of 
prose and verse is rare in modem non-dramatic 
literature, but it is to be found in motli.-cval " canto- 
fables," and in the exquisite tliirtoenth century French 
story, A%icassin et Nicokttc, while William Morris 
adopted it with a measure of suooess in liis romance. 
The House of the Wolfin^s. 

We turn next to Hebrew poetry. As a rule, when 
poetry has to be studied in translation, questions of 



THE BIBLE AS LITERATURE 



23 



form can hardly be considered with profit. It happens, 
however, that there is one fundamental feature of 
Hebrew versification which can be preserved in trans- 
lation and therefore concerns the English reader. It 
is that known as parallelism, or the symmetry or 
balance between clause and clause, in thought or ex- 
pression, or in both. For the student of the Bible as 
literature, this is a most important subject. 
The three principal varieties of parallelism are : 

(1) Synonymous (the most common of all), in which 
the second lino reinforces the first by repeating the 
thought in a somewhat different expression, or rounds 
it off by the introduction of a parallel idea : 

" In Judah is God knowTi, 

His name is great in Israel." 
" Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon, 

And thou, Moon, upon the valley of Aijalon." 

(2) Antithetic (the opposite of s3Tionymous), in 
which the second line completes the first by intro- 
ducing a statement in contrast with it : 

" For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous, 
But the way of the wicked shall perish." 
Gnomic sayings fall naturally in such antithetic form ; 
hence this type of parallelism abounds in Pr. (espe- 
cially ch. 10-15). 

(3) Constructive, in which the two lines or clauses 
are not related by repetition or contrast, but one com- 
pletes the other in various more subtle ways : 

(a) By introducing a comparison : 

" Better is a dinner of herbs where love is. 
Than a stalled ox and hatred therewith." 

(b) Or an illustration or emblem (this subdivision 
ia sometimes called emblematic parallelism) : 

" A word fitly spoken 

Is like apples of gold in baskets of silver." 
In this case the emblem may come first : 
" As cold waters to a thirsty soul. 

So is good news from a far country." 

(c) Or the second line may provide the reason, or 
consequence, or motive of the statement contained in 
the first : 

" Bow down thine ear, Lord, and answer me, 
For I am poor and in misery." 

" Answer not a fool according to his folly. 

Lest thou also be like unto him." 
A fourth and much rarer kind of parallelism must 
be added to these — the climactic or ascending. In 
this the first line by itself is incomplete, while the 
second line catches up its unfinished idea and com- 
pletes it : 

" The floods have lifted up, O Lord, 

The floods have lifted up their voice." 
" For lo, thine enemies, Lord, 
For lo, thine enemies shall perish." 
This kind of parallelism is generally found only in 
the most elevated poetry, in which it is exceedingly 
effective. 

It should be noted that the ajsthetic effect produced 
by parallelism, with its response of line to line, is not 
unlike that of modem rime ; indeed, Renan has called 
parallelism " the rime of thought." 

In the foregoing illustrations couplets only have 
been used. But parallelism may extend through larger 
groups of lines which, by analogy with modem systems 



of verse, we may call stanzas. We therefore find 
triplets and quatrains variously arranged according to 
the relations of the Unea one to another. Thus, e.g., 
we may have a synonymous triplet : 

" That walketh not in the counsel of the wicked. 
Nor standeth in the way of sinners. 
Nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful : " 
or a triplet in which the first two lines are sjTionymous, 
and together form an emblematic parallelism with the 
third : 

'■ As one that taketh off a garment in cold weather, 
And as vinegar upon nitre. 
So is he that singeth songs with a heavy heart." 
Or the second line may be united with the first by 
constructive parallelism, and the third to the second 
by synonymous parallelism : 
" Arise, Lord, save me, my God, 
For thou hast smitten all my enemies upon the 

cheek bone. 
Thou hast broken the teeth of the wicked." 
And so on, and so on, through innumerable combina- 
tions. In the same way the quatrain may exhibit 
various kinds of construction. The four lines may be 
resolved by analysis into two closely-connected 
couplets : 

" If I whet my glittering sword. 
And my hand take hold on judgment, 
I will render vengeance to mine adversaries. 
And will recompense them that hate me." 
Or we may have alternate parallelism, like the alter- 
nate rimes of an English quatrain (abab) : 
" Except the Lord build the house 
They labour in vain that build it ; 
Except the Lord keep the city 

The watchman waketh but in vain." 
Or an inverted quatrain, like the stanza of In Memo- 
riam {abba) : 

" Have mercy upon me, O God, 

According to thy loving kindness ; 
According to the multitude of thy tender mercies 
Blot out my transgression." 

The foregoing must suffice as a brief introduction 
to a large subject, into the intricacies of which limita- 
tions of space forbid us here to enter. The student 
of the Bible as literature should, however, pursue it 
further for himself, for he will find that a thorough 
grasp of the principles of parallelism will greatly in- 
crease his enjoyment of Hebrew poetry on the aesthetic 
side. 

Poems are made up of such groups of lines in various 
parallelLstic relations. Sometimes a poem may be 
completely regular in structure, i.e. composed of a 
succession of similar groups; like Ps. 114, which is 
made up of uniform synonymous couplets. Some- 
times, it may be fairly regular though not completely 
so (Ps. 29). Sometimes, as in. Ps. 1, it may be quite 
irregular in formation. But Driver points out that 
the finest and most perfect specimens of Hebrew poetry 
are, as a rule, those in which the parallelism is most 
regular : sjTionymous distiches and quatrains being 
varied by occasional triplets (.Job 28. 31, 38, 39 ; Ps. I'S, 
29, 104'; Pr. 8i2ff.). It should be added that the 
line between prose and verse was far les.^ hard and 
formal in Hebrew than in modem litoraturas, and the 
transition from one to the other was, therefore, easy 
and natural. Wo have noted this iu the case of tho 



24 



THE BIBLE AS LITERATURE 



" mixed epic." So the narrative writers in general 
habitually adopted the parallelistic structure of verse 
for oracles, benedictions, farewells, and even orations. 

In general quality Hebrew poetry exhibits to the 
full those racial characteristics of which wo have 
already spoken. It is the poetry of a hot-blooded. 
Eastern people, who gave themselves up entirely to 
the emotion of the moment, and poured forth their 
feelings in songs of contrition, supplication, hope, 
despair, sorrow, doubt, faith, devotion, passionate love 
of CJk)d, ferocious hatred of their enemies. Hence their 
frequent extravagance of expression ; aa when in his 
excitement the poet describes the mountains as skipping 
like rams and the hills like the young of a flock. 
Oriental intensity of expression will be noted in another 
way in various places in the love poetry of the Song 
of Songs. The English reader must be careful to keep 
these features in mind, for recognition of them is 
essential to a proper understanding of Hebrew poetry 
as literature. 

The various poetic books of OT are dealt with in 
separate commentaries to which the reader is referred 
for details. There is one matter of general interest, 
however, which may properly be considered here — the 
treatment of nature in Hebrew poetry (pp. 12f., 369). 
The Hebrews were an agricultural and pastoral people ; 
their occupations brought them into constant contact 
with the changing phenomena of the seasons ;• it was 
inevitable, therefore, that images and motives from 
nature should be prominent in their poetrj'. Now there 
are two questions which have to be put in regard to any 
body of nature-poetry : first, how does the poet see 
and describe nature ? — faithfully and concretely, like 
Wordsworth and Tennyson ? or conventionally and 
at second hand, like Pope ? And then, how does he 
feel about nature ? what emotional response does it 
awaken in him ? These questions are easy to answer 
in respect of Hebrew poetry. It is a simple, direct, 
and faithful rendering of what the poet has actually 
seen ; and the emotion which the contemplation of 
nature elicits is almost always a religious emotion. 
There is in Hebrew literature no poetry of nature for 
its own sake, such as we find so often in modem 
literature. Nature is always related to man on the 
one side and to God on the other. On the human side, 
the thought is often of the fertility of the earth and 
its utility to man (very characteristic of an agricultural 
and pastoral people) ; though this is habitually con- 
ceived as a manifestation of the goodness and bounty 
of God (Ps. 659-13). On the religious side, the central 
idea is the entire and immediate dependence of all 
things upon God, who created and sustains them. 
There is no thought of nature apart from God, and, of 
course, no thought of nature in antagonism to God, 
such afi we find in Tennyson's In Memoriam. More- 
over, God is outside nature, never within it ; the con- 
ception of Divine Immanence, which Wordsworth so 
often expresses (e.g. Lines above Tintern Abbey) being 
wholly foreign to Hebrew religious ideas. Nature for 
the Hebrew poet was thus never a living thing, still 
less a spiritual thing ; no Hebrew poet could have 
written with Wordsworth that " Nature never did 
betray the heart that loved her." Thus Hebrew nature- 
poetry provides one more illustration of the compre- 
hensive anthropomorphic theism of the Hebrew, for 
whom everything began with God and ended with 
Him. All these qualities — the fine fidelity, the human 
reference, and the religious intei-jjretation — may be 
studied, e.g., in the magnifictMit song of creation, 
Ps. 104. It is important to remember that this is a 
poetical rendering and amplification of the account of 



the creation given by the priestly writer in Gen. 1. 
But whereas the priestly writer regarded the work of 
creation as finished, the poet, with finer instinct, treats 
it as an eternal process, symlwlised as it were by the 
everlasting succession of the seasons. 

Didactic literature next demands our attention. 
This includes those very interesting " Wisdom " books 
which, with their observations and reflections on life 
and their rules for its proper guidance, constitute, as 
has been said, the nearest approach in Hebrew litera- 
ture to what we call philosophy. These books are 
fully analysed in separate commentaries, and it is with 
their general literary characteristics only that we are 
now concerned. One of these in particular has to be 
emphasized — their comparative formlessness. The 
Hebrews had little power of sustained or coherent 
thought, and little sense of that orderly arrangement 
of ideas Avhich Greek and modem writers have led us 
to expect in the literature of reflection. Hence, with 
the exception of Job (which, as compared with other 
surviving Hebrew literature, is remarkably systematic), 
these " VVisdom " books are scarcely more than mis- 
cellanies. Proverbs is largely composed of isolated 
sayings and epigrams, and even the more extended 
passages have slight order or interconnexion. (Com- 
parison will show that the apocryphal Ecclesiasticus 
exhibits a marked development in this respect ; the 
materials are sometimes grouped according to sub- 
jects, and there is more sequence and elaboration of 
thought.) In Ecclesiastes we have a congeries of de- 
tached reflections, observations, impressions, anecdotes, 
not unified into a body of doctrine, and not always 
even harmonised. Yet within these books we can 
recognise the rudimentary form, or cmde beginnings, 
of an important literary type — the essay. The evolu- 
tion of the essay can be seen in Proverbs, where, from 
time to time, wo come upon clusters of aphorisms 
dealing with the same topic (e.^. 263-12,13-16,17-26), 
and — a stage in advance of these — passages concemed 
with some particular theme (e.g. out of many. 4i-9, 
10-19,20-27, 66-11). Literary evolution is still more 
apparent in Ecclesiastes, which breaks up under 
analysis into five essays (Moulton), though miscellane- 
ou3 sayings are interspersed: li2-2, 3-48, 5io— 612, 
723-9i6, II7-I27. Of the suggestion in Job of another 
literary form — the drama — I have already spoken. 

Finally, in our survey of OT literature, we come to 
the literature of prophecy. The place and significance 
of prophecy and its relation to history and theology lie 
outside the scope of this article (pp. 69-78, 85-93. 426- 
430). Again we have to consider literary characteristioa 
only, and even of these it is diflicult to speak in brief, 
because prophetic literature is marked by extreme 
complexity of composition. While its essential feature 
is that the prophet writes in a state of ecstasy and as 
the Divinely commissioned interpreter of God's will 
(note passages in which such commission is set forth, 
e.g. Ezek. 2-34), bis utterances assume many forms. 
Sometimes it is Yahweli Himself who speaks (Hos. 
II 1-4). More often the prophet delivers the message 
in liis own person. H.a discourse often takes the shape 
of direct exhortation and appeal, and may thus be 
likened (as I have suggested) to the modem sermon. 
Often he indulges in denunciation of the wickedness 
either of his own people or of other nations, and then 
we may roughly compare his work with the Philippics 
of Demosthenes and Cicero and the satires of Latin and 
later writers. Occasionally we have regular dramatic 
fUalogues (Is. 63i-6, Jer. 14-17. Mi. 6f., Hab. If.). A 
strongly dramatic element is often introduced in other 
ways (Is. 403fE., 49, 53, etc.). Events are frequently 



THE BIBLE AS LITERATURE 



25 



described in vivid pictures (Is. 527ff., Jer. Sio-ig). 
Pereonal and historical narratives are sometimes in- 
corporated witli prophecy (Jer. 2G-29, 34r-i3 ; Am. 7 
IO-I7, Hag.). Abundant use is made of parable 
(Jer. 13I2-I4, 24; Is. 5i-7 ; Ezek. 24i-i4), and of 
allegory andsymbolism (Ezek. 4, 5,15-17, 19, 23, 27, 31, 
Hos. 1-22. 3; Zech. II4-I4). Visions are, of course, 
iimumerable (Is. 6, 41, 43 ; Ezek. I4-28, 322-27, 37, 
Am. 7-9, Zech. 1-6, etc.), and among these it is scarcely 
necessary to say we include the beautiful pictures of 
the peace and blessing of the coming Messianic reign, 
which are too frequent and familiar to call for more 
specific remark. The purely poetic element is also 
very strong in many of the prophets, notably in Isaiah, 
one of Israel's greatest poets, and a master of the 
" grand stylo," and in Nahum. Attention must, 
therefore, be paid to such poetic qualities as use of 
nature, imagery, \avidness, picturesqueness, and force 
and beauty of diction. At times lyric poems are 
introduced, e.g., the thanksgiving songs for Israel's 
deliverance in Is. 14, 25f . ; and the noble ode in 
Hab. 3. The prophets were, of course, patriots and 
statesmen ; they were primarily interested in the 
things of their own day, and often they dealt in a very 
practical way with very practical questions. But the 
supreme quality of Hebrew prophetic literature — the 
quality which gives it its distinctive place — is its 
intense spirituality. More than any other body of 
literature in the world, it brings life to the test of 
ultimate values, and suffuses the mundane and tem- 
poral with the influences of the unseen and eternal. 

To complete this short survey of the literature of 
the Bible something must be said about the literary 
aspects of NT. (A fuller discussion will be found in 
the article on " The Development of the New Testa- 
ment Literature.") 

The essential thing here is to realise the difference 
between those portions of NT which in literary char- 
acter are hardly to be distinguished from OT, and 
those which reveal the influx of a new culture and new 
ideas of composition. 

Under the former head we have, it is evident, to 
place the Synoptic Gospels. We pass to these from 
the analogous parts of OT without being conscious of 
any radical change in literary atmosphere : the re- 
semblances are fundamental, the differences few and 
superficial. In eveiything appertaining to method 
and style, indeed, the writers of these gospels clearly 
belong to the OT school. Their narrative adheres to 
the same general type ; it is marked by the same 
plainness, directness, and simplicity, the same avoid- 
ance of amplification and digressive detail : as we 
may see by turning to such fine examples as the story 
of the death of John the Baptist (Mk. 617-29) and the 
account of the shepherds watching their flocks by 
night (Lk. 28-2o). Their interspersed dialogues and 



speeches are likewise fashioned on OT models. Even 
the discourses of Jesus, though they are so stamped 
with the speakers personality as to seem entirely 
new and unique, have in respect of literary form 
nothing original about them ; for His aphorisms. His 
prophetic sayings. His parables, were all, as vehicles of 
expression, familiar to His Jewish hearers from their 
own Scriptures. In reading the first three gospels, 
therefore, the literary student is throughout impressed 
by the fact that he is still dealing with OT modes of 
thought and style. To this OT tradition in NT also 
belongs Revelation, a late outgrowth from that Jewish 
apocalyptic litej.ature which, in turn, had evolved out 
of prophecy. 

When, however, we pass from these works to the 
remaining divisions of NT, we are made aware in 
different ways that we are emerging into a fresh 
world — a world already touched by far-reaching 
western influences. We feel this, for example, in 
many places in Acts, and particularly in the second 
part, which forms a fragmentary biography of Paul. 
Here much of the narrative suggests the touch of 
self-conscious and deliberate art — the art of the Greek 
rather than of the Hebrew writer ; as in the account 
of what happened at Melita (28i-6) ; while Paul's 
speeches are obviously written or edited by one familiar 
with the technique of Greek oratory. In the fourth 
gospel, again, Greek influences are powerfuUy at work, 
not in theology only, but in substance and manner as 
well ; the least critical reader must perceive this at 
once, on observing the contrast between the long, 
sustained, and argumentative discourses of Jesus given 
by John, and the brief and simple addresses of the 
Master recorded by the synoptists. But it is most of 
all the epistles, and especially those of Paul, with 
their complexity of thought and expression, their 
subtlety of logic, their rhetorical skill, and the masterly 
quality of their style, which announce unmistakably 
that we have now left behind us the mental habits 
and limitations of OT waiters. Beside these examples 
of brilliant reasoning and literary art, the " W^isdom " 
books of OT seem, as has been well said, remote and 
primitive. '" When we pass from Proverbs and Job 
to St. John and Romans and Hebrews, we have passed 
from the world of Solomon to the world of Socrates " 
(Gardiner, p. 185). 

Literature. — S. R. Driver, Intro, to the Lit. of OT 
R. G. Moulton, Tlie Literary Study of the Bible 
J. H. Gardiner, The Bible as Etiglish Literature 
G. F. Moore, The Lit. of OT ; C. F. Kent, The StuderU's 
OT ; E. G. King, Early Religious Poetry of the 
Hebrews ; E. Kautzsch, Die Poesie u. die poet. Biicher 
des Alt. Test.; K. Budde, Hebrew Poetry (HDB) ; 
Gunkel, Die israelitische Literatur in Die Kultur der 
Gegenwart: Die oriental ischen Literaturen. Much at- 
tention is given to this in Die Schriften des Alt. Test. 



THE HOLY LAND 



By Dr. E. W. G. MASTERMAN 



The land which the Divine purpose si^lcctcd as the 
home of the Hebrew race has had, through its situa- 
tion and physical conditions, no little bearing upon 
their mental and spiritual development. Indeed, it is 
impossible to understand the Hebrew people apart 
from their environment or to appreciate their litera- 
ture — saturated as it is with local imagery — without 
some knowledge of the land of its origin. Even the 
Master Himself was, during His earthly ministry, 
necessarily influenced by physical, geographical, and 
climatic conditions which it is important to realise if 
we would understand His life. 

Names. — The section of Southern Syria which was 
the scene of the greater mrt of the OT and NT is 
conveniently described as The Holy Land ' ' since it 
is diflScult to get any modern geographical expression 
which covers the whole of it satisfactorily. The oldest 
name in the OT is the land of Canaan (Gen. 125 
I63, 17s, 37i, etc.), which occurs in the form Kinahki 
in Egyptian monuments of c. 1800 B.C. and in the 
Tell el-Amama Correspondence (c. 1400 B.C.). Origi- 
nally this name, which means " low land," was applied 
to the maritime plain, but later it denoted — as it does 
in the OT — the whole land west of Jordan. The land 
of Amurl or of the Amorites (p. 53) — a name which, 
though probably far older, occurs in Assyrian and 
Egyptian ^^Titings of c. 1200 B.C. — is applied especially 
to the mountain regions. Originally it appears to 
have designated the mountain region of the whole of 
S\Tia, but later it is especially used of the Lebanon 
and southwards, the "land of the Hatti " or Hittites 
being used for the more northern parts. 

We read in Egyptian monuments (c. 1100 B.C.) of 
the arrival of the Purusati (Philistines) and other 
allied tribes, who settled on the coast and south- 
western plains, at much the same time as the Hebrews 
were beginning to occupy the momitains to the east 
(p. 56). This district consoquently received the name of 
'eretjj Pelistim or land of the Philistines, or in jwetry 
Peleseth or Phlllstia (E.x. 15i4, Is. 1429,31). The 
Greeks at a later age applied the name Syria Palae.stina 
to this region, and the Romans, still later, divided all 
Southern Syria into Palestina Prima, Secunda, and 
Tertia. Thus the name, which originally, like Canaan, 
applied to the coast-lands, came gradually to be the 
most used name for the whole land. 

The name Syria — a shortened form of Assyria — is 
never used in the OT for the land of the Hebrews, 
but always for the rival kingdom whose centre was at 
Damascus. In the time of the Greek predominance 
it came into use, as it is employed to-day, as the name 
of the whole western Iwrdorland of the Mediterranean, 
and in the NT it is used several times in that sense 
(Mt. 424. Lk. 22, Ac. 1523,41, I818, 2I3, Gal. I21). 

Brief mention only can be made hero of the com- 
monest designations given to the land of the Bible. 



The term land of Israel is used twenty-two times in 
the OT and twice in the NT. Yahweh is repre- 
sented in many passages as speaking of " my land" 
(Is. 1425, Jer. 27, I618. Jl. 16, 32, etc.). AlUed terms 
are "a land which Yahweh thy God careth for" 
(Dt. II12), "the land of my people" (Is. 32i3), " m v 
heritage" (Jer. £7), "the land of your habitations 
(Nu. 152), " the land which Yahweh thy God giveth 
thee" (Dt. 17i4, I89, 2Gi). Epithets used as de- 
scriptive of the land are many — "a land flowing with 
milk and honey " (Jos. 56), " Bculah," i.e. "married " 
(Is. 624), "delightsome" (Mai. 3i2), "pleasant" 
(Jer. 319), "plentiful" (Jer. 27), "glorious" (Dan. 
1116,41). 

Physical Geography. — The groat mass of the rocks, 
of which the mountains of Palestine and Syria are 
built, were laid down at a ix'riod when this whole 
region, between Sinai in the south and Mount Taurus 
in the north, was submerged. The primitive 
(Archaean) rocks underlying these sedimentary rooks 
are nowhere exposed, and the oldest strata, which 
appear only near the south-east corner of the Dead Sea, 
consist of a conglomerate built largely of fragments of 
granite. Above the Archsean rocks are successively 
layers of Nubian sandstone, which apjx-ar to the east 
of the Dead Sea, then strata of limestone of the 
carboniferous ago, containing ammonites and echino- 
denns, and above these chalk strata of the upper 
cretaceous ago. The different layers of limestone 
rocks are distinguished by varjing degrees of hard- 
ness, in some cases by the presence of fossils or bands 
of flint, and, in some jmrts, by their being impregnated 
with phosphates or bitumen, the latter producing the 
" fire stone " or " Nebi Musa " stone. 

The vast mass of sedimentary rocks, many hundreds 
of feet thick, was gradually raised during the Miocene 
period, in great folds running north and south. In 
consequence of the enormous ^jrossure to which the 
strata were subject during this j^rocess, many of them 
became twi.sted in a remarkable way, and " faults " 
appeared. A fault is a deep crack at the point of 
greatest pressure, and such a crack usually leads to 
shifting of the stnita, the layers on one side being 
elevated in some cases hundreds of feet higher than 
on the other. Such a fault — running for a distance of 
350 miles — has produced the Jordan X'alKn* with its 
extension north and south. As a consequence of this, 
the strata on the east side of the crack have been 
projected upwards, so that here the deeper layers, 
e.g. Nubian sandstone, apjx<ar, while on the west the 
deepest layers appearing on the surface are lime.stone8. 

The grmt " fault " or rift was evidently at one time 
filled in its doejKT jmrta by a great mass of water — to a 
level of LW feet above the Mediterranean Sea — as far 
north as Hermon and also far south of the present 
Dead Sea. The cause of this great accumulation of 



In this article the names of places mentioned in the Bible are printed in clarendon type. 



THE HOLY LAND 



27 



water was the copious rainfall of the first ice age. It 
was during this, and subsequent similar periods, that 
the deep valleys were made by denudation of the 
limestone rocks by vast torrents. The enormous 
quantities of diluvial material were carried eastward, 
producing firstly gravelly and then finer marly de- 
posits at the bottom of the great central lake, and 
v/estward to form the present maritime plain, where 
they overlay Tertian deposits laid down when once 
the sea washed the foot of the limestone hills. 

The gradual onset of climatic conditions similar to 
those of the present age led to the slow drying up of 
the great central lalce, exposing as dry land the greater 
part of the lake bottom and leaving the three lakes. 
The Dead Sea, which has no outlet, is intensely salt 
because its waters contain the greater part of the 
salts which were once dissolved in the vastly greater 
volume of the original lake. 

In various parts of the land, notably in Galilee and 
in the cUstrict south and south-east of Hermon, there 
are volcanic rocks due to largo outflows of lava, and 
extinct volcanoes occur in considerable numbers. 
Although hot sulphurous springs exist in various 
parts of the Jordan Valley, and earthquakes are by 
no means uncommon, it is improbable that any active 
volcanic disturbance has occurred since Man appeared 
on this planet. It is probable that the physical and 
climatic conditions of the land were, from the earliest 
existence of JIan, practically identical with those of 
to-day. 

General Physical Features.— The geological pro- 
cesses just described have produced very defixiite 
divisions of the land. Running north and south 
through the midst, we have the Ghor or Jordan Valley 
with its swift -running river, its three lakes, and — in 
consequence of its great depth below sea level — ^its 
tropical climate and fauna. On either side of this are 
parallel mountain ranges rising abruptly from the 
central valley, but descending gradually westwards 
to the sea, and still more gradually eastwards to the 
desert. The mountains, in Palestine proper, scarcely 
reach 4000 feet above the Mediterranean, but east of 
the Jordan they are in places nearly 6000 feet, and 
Hermon, on the northern border, is over 9000 feet 
high. Thus from the summit of snow-clad Hermon 
to the sweltering Dead Sea shore (nearly 1300 feet 
below sea level) we have a difference of nearly 10,300 
feet. Yet, in spite of the startling contrast due to 
differences of elevation, one of the facts most striking 
to visitors from the \\'est is the gejieral uniformity 
of the land. For one thing, with the exception of 
the volcanic districts, the limestone strata — here 
horizontal, there acutely tilted or twisted, or full of 
fhnty nodules — are everywhere in evidence. Moun- 
tains made of such rocks are usually rounded and 
somewhat commonplace, and even the highest points 
can be reached on horseback. Then the climate, in 
its broad features, is the same everywhere. A short, 
wet winter wnth torrential rains is followed by a dry 
summer season with perha])S no drop of rain for five, 
or even six months. The heavy rains tend to clear 
the hillsides of soil — unless this is prevented by human 
agency — and the hot, dry summer soon withers the 
spring's glorious promise of verdure. Miles of country 
in the later summer produce nothing but a few scanty, 
prickly weeds. The scarcity of timber— greatly in- 
creased under Turkish misrvile — is marked all over the 
land. Springs are u.sually small and infrequent, and 
not a few become intermittent, or dry up altogether, 
after the summer drought. Common to the whole 
land are the characteristic winds also — the rain- 



bearing south-west or west winds, the cooling north- 
west wind, which so greatly mitigates the heat of 
midsummer evenings and nights, and the dry and 
parching south-east wind (the Sirocco) from the desert, 
which spoils so much of the otherwise pleasant weather 
in spring and autumn. 

From countless points aU over the land wonderful 
prospects are to be seen, views of natural beauty, 
with ever-changing atmospheric effects, but extra- 
ordinarily interesting and romantic to the student of 
history. For the size of the land the prospects, 
though harmonious, are wonderfully varied — mountain 
and plain, lake and ocean, tropical scenery in the 
Jordan Valley and Alpine plants upon the slopes of 
Hermon — all confined within an area so small that 
nearly two -thirds of its length can be seen from one 
onlook. The smallness of the land is striking when it 
is realised that from " Dan to Beersheba " is less than 
130 miles in a straight line, and from the sea to the 
desert, in the land's widest part is less than 100 miles. 
Enough of beauty still remaiiis to enable us to imagine 
what it must have been when a swarming and in- 
dustrious population cultivated it to its fullest -degree 
and all its hills were clothed in forests, orchards, or 
vineyards. 

Extent and Natural Divisions ot the Land.— The 
broad, natural divisions of Palestine run north and 
south. To the west lies the Mediterranean Sea, .to 
the east the desert ; between these two the strip of 
fertile land consists of two mountain ranges and two 
plains. Near the sea is the maritime plain ; running 
east of this, and making up with it " Western Pales- 
tine," is the great mountain backbone which springs 
from the Lebanon and loses itself far south in the 
desert of Sinai. East of this is the deep rift of the 
Ghor, which holds the river Jordan and its attendant 
lakes, while still further east there is a rapid rise to 
those fertile and historic plateaux which made up 
Eastern Palestine. This has been graphically por- 
trayed bj^ several writers thus : 



The 

Maritime 

Plain 



The Central p;5e,Sr 
Valley-) 



The Eastern I Th 
Kange | Desert 



The westward boundary has not always been a very 
secure one, for over these seas have come successively 
Phoenicians, Philistines, Greeks, and Romans, and in 
more modem times Crusaders and other Europeans. 
The desert to the east has proved a securer protection, 
but only when the frontier has been held in some 
force, for ever and again the wandering Bedouin — ^like 
the Midianites of old — have swarmed over the land 
and eaten up the crops of the more settled inhabitants. 
The most serious invasion of the land in the Christian 
era also came from the East, when the followers of 
Mohammed burst over the land and ^Tested it from 
the Byzantines. 

Southwards the land passes from over increasingly 
parched mountain ranges to an utter desert plateau 
where sea reel j' an Arab and a camel can exist. 

Northwards no sharp line divides Palestine proper 
from Syria — Damascus and its rich oasis has never 
been a part of the " land of Israel," nor has Lebanon. 
To-day an artificial frontier is made, for purposes of 
the Palestine Exploration Fund Survej'. at Tyre and 
a lino eastwards from that citj% but a more natural 
division is the river Litany whore it passes in its course 
from east to weat through an extraordinarily deep 



28 



THE HOLY LAND 



gorge. This lino prolonged to IBauias at the foot of 
Hermon, though an arbitrary one, is probably as 
satisfactory as any that can be found. 

Within these bounds lies a land unique, a unit, 
though broken into many parts. Less beautiful than 
the Lebanon and Phoenicia, less fmitful than Egypt 
and ancient McsoiX)tamia, smaller than all those, 
wasted and maimed as it is, it yet attracts the thoughts 
of a vastly greater number of mankind than all these 
other lands combined. 

Regional Geography. — I. Western Palestine, {a) The 
maritime plain, which stretches between the mountain 
and the sea almost all along the coast, varies much in 
width — from one to five miles or so in Northern 
Palestine to as much as twentj'-five miles in the south. 
Between Akka and Tyre the mountains of Galilee 
terminate in precipitous headlands running out into 
the sea, so that the old coast highroad had to negotiate 
a steep and difiScult route known as the " Ladder of 
Tyre." North of this we have the Plain of T>Te and 
then successively Sidon, Sarepta, Beirut, and other 
Phcenioian cities of ancient days, each upon its own 
narrow strip of coast -plain. 

South of the Ladder of Tyre the maritime plain 
Boon expands into the wide and weU-watered Plain 
ol Akka, traversed by the two rivers, the Nahr Naniein, 
the Belus, and the Nahr el Mukatta, the Kishon. 
The Bay of Akka (or Acre) lies between the city of 
that name — the Accho of Jg. I31 and the I>tolemaIs 
of Ac. 21 7 — on the north and the western extremity 
of Mount Carmel, which here falls abruptly seawards, 
but is separated from the sea by a narrow plain. 
Nestling to the north of the western end of Carmel 
is HaiS, a modem town which is coming into in- 
creasing importance as the terminus of the Hejaz 
Railway and the owTier of the one natural harbour 
for modem ships on all the coast of Palestine. South 
of Carmel the coast presents no safe anchorage for 
present-day needs, but at several jxjints, where some 
rocky reef or some slight indentation of the coast 
occurs, Phoenician sailors or their successors in Greek, 
Roman, or later times established themselves and 
made harbours suited to their small sailing boats. 
We have thus from north to south — Athllt, the Cas- 
tellum Peregrinonim of the Crusaders, Tantiirah, the 
Phoenician Dor, el Kaiserieh or Caesarea, the capital 
of Roman Palestine, Jaffa onco Japho and Joppa, 
A8kalan,the successor of the Philistine and Crusading 
Ascalon, and Ghuzzeh, now three miles inland but 
nevertheless the successor of Philistine, Greek, and 
Byzantine Gaza. All the ancient harbour works are 
ruined, and the liarbours themselves are now largely 
silted up. From Jaffa southwards, the sea -board is 
hidden from the neighbouring plain by an ever- 
broadening line of sand dunes which merge towards 
the south into the sandj' desert betwecni Gaza and 
Egypt. The plain itself from Carmel southwards to 
the desert contains some of the most fertile land in 
Palestine. The alluvial soil carried down from the 
mountains is constantly being renewed by fresh de- 
posits from the hills, assisted in some parts by floods 
in the rainy season. It is extensively, but by no 
means fully, cultivated. The part to the north of 
Jaffa is usually known as the Plain of Sharon (Is. 330, 
35i, G5io), and jmrts of this were onco a forest. It 
is traversed by several small streams, of which tho 
most important are the Nahr ez Zerka or Crocodile 
River towards the north, and the Nahr el Awaj, the 
Crooked River, which rises at Kefr Saba, the site of 
the ancient Antipatrls (Ac. 2331 '). and reaches the 
sea just north of Jaffa. Inland from Jaffa on the 



railway to Jerusalem are Ludd, the Lydda of Ac. 
932, and Ramleh, both important places in the 
midst of splendid groves of olives and fruit-trees, 
while still further west, upon the actual foot hills, 
is Tell el Jezereh, the recently excavated site of 
ancient Gezer (Jg. 129*, 1 K. 9isf.*). On the great 
Egyptian highroad from Jaffa to Gaza lie successively, 
Yebneh, the ancient Jabniel or Jamnia (Jos. loii), 
ten miles further south Esdud, once Ashdod, and still 
another ten miles further south, Askalan upon tho 
ooast itself. Far on tho eastern edge of the plain, 
nearly as far south as Gaza, is Tell el Hcsy, the site 
of Lachish (2 K. 1814., I'Js, Jer. 347), which has 
been partially excavated. Between Jaffa and Gaza 
in tho north and Gaza and Lachish in the south Ues 
the great rolling plain of Philistia, on which rich 
harvests of wheat and barley are gathered annually. 
The remaining two great Philistine cities, Gath, pos- 
sibly at Tell 68 Safi, and Ekron, possibly at edh 
Dhenebbeh, are not with any certainty identified. 

(b) The great mountain backbone of Western 
Palestine is naturally divided into five parts. In the 
north, beyond Palestine proper, is the Lebanon ; then 
comes Galilee, separated by the Litany from the pre- 
ceding and from Samaria by the wide plain of 
Esdraelon ; beyond these, each with its owti charac- 
teristics, we have Samaria, Judsea, and the Negeb. 

(1) The Lebanon extends for about 100 miles north 
and south parallel with the Syrian coast. In the 
north it is divided from the Nusairlyeh mountains 
by the Nahr el Keblr or Eleutheros River ; in the 
south from Galilee by the Nahr Litany, probably the 
Leontes of classical writers. To the west the narrow 
strip of the Phoenioian plain divides it from the sea, 
and to the east it is separated from the Anti-Lebanon 
by the plain el Bukaa or Cajlesyria, up the centre of 
which the Orontes flows northward. Within these 
limits mountain points rise at several places to con- 
siderable heights, especially in the north. Makmal is 
10.207 feet, Sannin, near Beirut. 8895 feet, and Baruk, 
further south, about 7000 feet high. Snow lies on 
many of the higher suilimits until late in the summer. 
The whole region is full of fountains and streams, some 
of which traverse the most romantic gorges. The 
BU{)eriority of this district over Palestine in this re- 
spect is partly due to the sno\vy summits and partly 
to the presence here of a great stratum of water- 
gathering Nubian sandstone (1300 to 1600 feet thick), 
on which Coniferaj flourish exceedingly. The lower 
mountain sloixjs are highly cultivated in places, but 
the forests of cedars which once crowiied tte heights 
are to-day represented only by a few small and 
scattered groves. The {Jeople of the Lelanon are as 
much s(>]iarated in government and in social life from 
those of Palestine as they were in ancient times. 

(2) Oalilec, the " ring " or " region " (c/. " Galilee 
of the nations," Is. 9i), was originally a special 
hmited district around Kedesh (Jos. 2O7, 21 32). It 
is divided by Josephus into three parts: (1) Upper 
Galilee, (2) Lower (lalilee, and (3) the Jordan Valley. 
The thvision is a good one though somewhat artificial, 
but as (3) will bo treated under the section dealing 
with " tho Jordan Valley " as a whole, it will be 
convenient to treat the Plain of Esdraelon as the 
third division instead. 

Upper Oalilec consists of a series of high-lying 
plateaux of considerable fertility, scored at their 
edges by deep, irregular valleys. Safcnl. the chief 
town, stands a littlo to the south-east of the centre; 
some six miles to the west the summit of .lebel Jenuak. 
the highest point in Palestine, rises to a height of 



THE HOLY LAND 



29 



3934 feet. The plateau ends abruptly to the south in 
a well-defined range of hills running east and west, of 
which the highest points are the Jchulet el Arus, 3500 
foot high. The whole range descends abruptly about 
2000 feet to the lower hill-country of Lower (xaUleo. 

In this lofty mountain region there are relatively 
many springs and fairly abundant winter rains. The 
dryness of the later summer months is largely com- 
pensated by the abundant d(>ws — the dew of Hermon 
(Ps. 1333) — which is a result of the moisture -laden 
south-west winds being suddenly cooled by contact 
with Hermon. In several places, notably at the 
plain of el Jish (Gischala) there are outcrops of 
volcanic rock. 

This highland region does not appear to have been 
completely subdued by Israel, though partially settled 
by Naphthali and Ashcr. The invasion of Benhadad 
(1 K. 1020) fell heavily on this district, as did that of 
Tiglathpileser the Assjnnan (2 K. I529). Most of the 
captured places named were in Upper Galilee. Down 
to NT times this land was the homo of a mixed and 
largely pagan race. The extremely mixed character 
of the inhabitants is a marked feature to-day. The 
most famous sites are Kedes, the ancient Kadesh- 
Naphthali (Jos. 2O7, 21 32, Jg. 49f.*), one of the 
" cities of refuge," and Khurbet Harraweh, a lofty 
hill dominating the upper Jordan plain which marl^ 
the site of ancient Hazor (Jg. 42, etc.). 

Lower Galilee is bounded on the north by the steep 
mountain ridge just described ; on the south the 
natural boundary is Esdraelon, but at times the plain 
was counted, as was Carmel, to Galilee itself. To the 
west Lower Galilee slopes gently down to the plain of 
Akka, which jxjlitically belonged to it in Roman 
times when Ptolemais was the port of the province. 
On the cast the province not only extended to the 
Jordan but actually beyond it. Most references to 
Galilee are to Lower Gahlee, and this, almost exclusively 
so far as we can gather, was the scene of the earthly 
ministry of our Lord in the north. 

It is a region of no great height ; the loftiest point 
is only 1800 feet above sea level. The hills are dis- 
posed in parallel ranges running east and west, with 
wide, fertile valleys between. Some of these plains 
have no proper drainage, and tend to become water- 
logged at the end of the winter rains. It is a rich and 
fertile land, which under better political conditions 
ought to be, what it once was, productive of vast 
quantities of olives, vines, and fruit, as well as timber. 
It is dotted thick with villages, and even more with 
ruins, marking historic sites. Nazareth is situated in 
a sheltered hollow ; the hills which surround it overlook 
the plain of Esdraelon. It was in Roman times off 
any main road and yet within easy reach of two. 
Four miles north-west, over hill slopes now thick with 
brushwood and sweet-smelling herbs, hcs Suffiirieh, 
once Sepphoris, the Roman capital of the district in 
NT times. Another six miles northward, across the 
plain of Buttauf (the Asochis of Josephus) is Khurbet ^ 
Kana. almost certainly the Cana of Galilee of Jn. 2i-ii, 
446, which a late and unreliable tradition has located 
at Kefr Kenna. Three miles N.W. of Kana, up a 
picturesque gorge, is Ivhurbet Jefat, the site of Jota- 
pata, famous in Josephus for its siege. A httle further 
west is the village of Kabul (Cabul), a name preserving 
the tradition of 1 K. 913. Where the hills of Gahlee 
terminate to the south-west, opposite the loftj' eastern 
end of Carmel, is Haritheyeh, almost certainly the 
" Harosheth of the Gentiles " famous in the history 
of Si sera (Jg. 42»). 

' Khurbet = ruin. 



West of Galilee, rising abruptly from the plain of 
Esdraelon, but really an offshoot of the mountains of 
Galilee, is Jebel et Tor, the labor of OT times, 
sacred doubtless then as it is now, but an impossible 
site, in spite of ecclesiastical tradition, for the Trans- 
figuration, since it was in NT times a thickly in- 
habited, semi-fortified site. 

The modem carriage road from Nazareth lies some 
miles to the north of Tabor and runs to Tiberias, the 
only surviving town of importance on the lake to-day. 
Tiberias was avoided in NT times by faithful Jews 
as godless, pagan, and defiled, but by the irony of 
history became later a seat of the Sanhedrin, and 
to-day is one of the four holy cities of Jewiy. The 
footsteps of Jesus must have taken Him by roads 
fui-ther north, probably by Kana and the plain of the 
Buttauf to Gennesaret. "Here, along the north side 
of the lake, lay the Jewish cities of Magdala — now the 
squalid village of Mejdel— and Capernaum, now the 
ruins of Tell Hum. Among the black, volcanic hill- 
slopes, two miles north of Tell Hum, is Kerazeh, a 
black and shapeless ruin of the once fine city Chorazin. 
Across the Jordan on the inland edge of an alluvial 
plain (but counted in NT times as of Galilee) is a 
hill known as et Tell ; here once stood Bethsaida, 
" the house of fishing," called by the Romans Beth- 
saida Julias. Among the famous roads which crossed 
Gahlee, none are more celebrated than the " Way of 
the Sea " (Is. 9i). This probably came up from the 
south via Beisan, skirted the western shore of the lake, 
crossed Gennesaret, passed at least the territoiy or 
outskirts of Capernaum, then turned successively 
north and north-east, crossed the Jordan below Lake 
Huleh, and so ran on to Damascus. 

The Plain of Esdraelon or Megiddo, called to-day 
Merj el Amir, is a wide expanse of alluvial soil of 
great depth and fertility. In the spring it is a vast 
stretch of green from end to end. Like the Jordan 
Valley, the existence of this plain is due to a fault 
running east and west. It is not well supplied with 
water, but the regiop of the sources of the sluggish 
Nahr el Mukattam— the Kishon— is often water- 
logged after heavy rains. Although this stream 
winds across the plain all the way from the watershead 
to its exit between Carmel and the south-western 
corner of the hills of Galilee, it is only at this narrow 
valley, and that too only after very heavy rain, that 
the Kishon can ever be dangerous to cross (Jg. 52 1). 
Such a plain, in a land so mountainous, must always 
have been on a line of traffic ; to-day the railway runs 
across it, as of old one of the most famous roads from 
Mesopotamia to Egypt traversed it diagonally from 
the eastern side of Tabor to the great pass which begins 
at Megiddo. 

The Plain of Esdraelon is triangular in shape, one 
angle being at the narrow pass where the Kishon has 
forced its way between the mountains of GaUlee and 
the ridge of Carmel ; the second angle is near Tabor, 
and the third near Jenin. The mountains of Nazareth — 
15 miles — bound it on the north ; on the south the 
northern edge of the mountains of Samaria from 
Jenin, past Megiddo to Carmel — 20 miles — make the 
longest side of the triangle ; while on the east a more 
broken line of 15 miles runs from Jenin to Tabor, 
passing successively the Mountains of Gllboa, 1648 feet, 
Jebel Dahi, also called " Little Heniion," IGiWfeet. and 
Mount Tabor itself, 1843 feet high. Between Gilboa 
and Jebel Dahi the long valley of Jezreel runs from be- 
tween Zerin (Jezreel) in the south, and Solam (Shunem, 
2 K. 48*) in the north, and wth a rapid descent to 
Beisan,theanoient Bethshean( Jg. 1 2 ;•). whereit merges 



THE HOLY LAND 



in the Jordan Valley. This is a very historic valley. 
Hero occiined (Jideon's victory over tho unorganised 
multitudes of the Midianitcs. and Ain Jalud is })ointed 
out as the Spring of Harod wlu-re (iideon tested his 
warriors (Jg. 7i*). In this valley too was Sauls last 
battle with the Philistines (1 S. 31). On the northern 
slope of Jebel Dahi is Endor, where he consulted the 
witch the night before the battle, on the mountains 
of Gilboa to the south he was slain, and on the gates 
of Bothshean — now Beisan, a railway station on the 
railway to Damascus — his and his sons' bodies were 
exposed. Again, less than two centuries later, Jehoram 
in Jezreel saw Jehu the son of Nimshi driving furiously 
up this valley as Yahweh's chosen instrument of 
vengeance upon his father's family ; before Jezreel, 
close to Naboth's vineyard, Jehoram fell while his 
companion, Ahaziah, fled southward to Jenin ; by 
Ibleam, now Tell Belameh, he was wounded, and then 
all along the southern edge of the plain, a dying man, 
his chariot bore him to Megiddo where he died (2 K. 9). 

At the foot of the northern slopes of Jebel Dahi, 
opixjsite Tabor, is Nein, the Nain of Lk. 711-15. 

(3) Samaria lies between the plain of Esdraelon on 
the north and the higher, wilder, mountain region of 
Judaea to the south — the exact line of frontier varied 
much at difTcront periods — and between the maritime 
plain to the west and the Jordan to the east. The 
tenn Mount Ephraim, originally given to the territory 
inunediately north of Rnjaniin (Jos. 17i5, I950, etc.) 
is in other passages of OT (cf. Jer. 316) applied to this 
whole district. This region is characterised by its 
openness (as contrasted with Juda?a), especially to- 
wards the east, where the easily fordable Jordan gave 
no protection, and there is little or no wilderness. 
The great roads from SjTia to the coast as well as 
the great highroads between Mesopotamia and Egypt 
traversed parts of this territory. Megiddo, whose 
site is marked by the great Tell Mutasellim (which 
has been recently excavated), was the guard city of 
the famous pass by which this highway traversed 
the hills between Esdraelon and Sharon. Here 
Thothmes III obtained a great victory over the people 
of the land, and here long afterwards Josiah, trying 
to intercept Pharaoh Keoho on his way to fight the 
Assjnians, met his death at the hand of the Egyptian 
king (2 K. 2329, 2 Ch. 3022, Zech. 12ii). Some 
seven miles south-east of Tell Mutasellim is the recently 
excavated Taanak, the Taanach of Jg. 619. 

The fertility of Samaria is marked : this is largel}' 
due to the soft character of its rocks, which readily 
crumble under the weather, producing gently rounded 
hills and many open plains. Samaria has a higher 
proportion of cultivable land and far more springs 
than Judsea. This o{>enness to foreign influence and 
more luxurious living tended to produce a people 
more worldly and pagan than Judsea. 

Carmel — which geographically belongs to Samaria, 
though not always politically — is a district of special 
fertility, and apparently sjx'cially prone to nature- 
worship. The term Mount Carmel is usually applied 
to the lofty ridge running from Tell Keimun — probably 
Jokneam (Jos. 1222, etc.) — to the western end at the 
sea, but it is more correct to recognise as Carmel also 
a triangular area of hills extending as far south as 
the Crocodile River. It is a region specially suited — 
as its name implies — to vineyards, and what may be 
done with it under skilled agriculture is shown at 
Zammarin, where the Jewish colonists have one of 
their most prosperous settlements. The most striking 
spot in Cannel is the most westerly point of the ridge, 
called el Mahrakah, " the place f)f burning," 1687 feet 



high, which is the probable site of Elijah's CoBtest 
with the prophets of Baal (1 K. l«i(/). The local 
conditions correspond extraordinarily with the narr.i- 
tive. It is a remarkable spot apart from this, as the 
l>rospect extends far over Gahlee and Samaria. It 
is not improbable that Elijah had his dwelling in 
this neighbourhood. 

The centre of Samaria is Nablus — a corruption of 
NeajKjlis, the " new city " — which lies between Ebal 
and Gerizim and is the successor of Shechem (1 K. I2i). 
The ancient city was probably at Khurbet Belata, a 
mile further east, at the entrance to the valley. This 
fertile and well-watered valley between these lofty 
mountains is a most important pass between the coast 
and the East Jordan lands. Jebel Sulemiyeh or Ebal, 
3032 feet high, faces south, and in consequence, be- 
cause it is much baked bj' the summer sun, its verdure 
is scanty — hence jx-rhaps the idea of its being " cursed." 
Jebel et Tor, Gerizim, which faces north, is fiill of 
springs and greenness — hence it was " blessed." Be- 
tween these two the assembled tribes recited the law 
(Jos. 830-35). On Mount Gerizim stood the temple of 
the Samaritans, once a rival in splendour to Zion, 
and there the survivors of this once great community, 
now numbering under 200, annually celebrate the 
Passover. At the eastern foot of Gerizim is "Jacob's 
Well," possibly the original well, but almost certainly 
the site of the conversation of Jesus with the Samaritan 
woman (Jn. 45-30). Across the valley on the south- 
eastern slopes of Ebal is " Ain Askar," the possible 
site of Sychar. 

From Nablijs, ancient roads radiate in various 
directions. One, running south, is the ancient high- 
road to Bethel, Jerusalem, Hebron, and Beersheba, 
familiar to the patriarchs. An equally ancient one 
runs NNE. past Talliiza — the probable site of Tirzah, 
the ancient capital (1 K. 16s) — and Tubaz, the Thebez 
of Jg. 950, to Beisan, the Bethshean of the OT and 
the Scythopolis of the period of the NT, the largest 
of the cities of the Deca polls. 

From Nablijs an easy road, traversed to-day by 
carriages, runs about 6J miles NWW. to Scbastieh. 
Here on a lofty, isolated hill inhabited to-day at its 
eastern end by some rapacious fellahln. lay the great 
city of Samaria. The excavations recently conducted 
here have revealed the foundations of the great palace 
of Omri and of Ahab, but the most extensive and 
magnificent remains belong to the reconstruction of 
the city by Herod the Great, who gave it the new 
name Sebaste (Greek for Augusta) in honour of 
Augustus Csesar. The situation of the city of Samaria 
was magnificent, surrounded by rich corn-fields, and 
encircled by hills. From the recently excavated 
remains of the great western gate — probably standing 
on the site of a gate of Ahab's time — it is possible to 
reconstruct in imagination the whole story of the 
flight of the SjTians (2 K. 7). 

Close to the great north road, some eleven miles 
north of Sebastieh, is Tell Dotan— the Dothan of 
Gen. 37 1 7 and 2 K. 613- To-day the great flocks of 
sheep and goats from near, and the long strings of 
camels travelling from afar, gather hero to drink at the 
copious spring : these and the many empty cisterns 
around, all vividly recall the .story of Joseph. 

(4) Judsea. — The region south of Samaria is a well- 
defined, geographical entity of a sj^ecial character 
which has had a marked influence on the Jews and on 
the Bible. The first point is its sharply-defined isola- 
tion : although very close to some of the greatest 
ancient highways to distant lands it was actually not 
on one of them. The district is bounded upon threo 



THE HOLY LAND 



31 



of its sides by natural frontiers difficult to pass. The 
eastern boundary was theoretically the Jordan and 
the Dead Sea, but within this there was a more efficient 
line of defence in tho strip of waterless wilderness — 
the Wilderness of Judaea — which is interposed between 
the Dead Sea and the habitable area. On tho south 
lay tho Negeb — suited only to nomads — and south of 
that again an uninhabitable desert. Westward, the 
frontier was protected by the steep descent of the 
mountains, pierced at only three places by passes of 
importance, viz. (1) In the north, tho Valley of Aljalon 
and pass of the Bethhorons (1 K. 9i7*), the scene of 
many a historic battle (Jos. IO12, 1 S. I431, 2 S. 525, 
1 Ch. 14i6). (2) The pass up which the Jaffa-Jeru- 
salem Railway runs. This traverses the fruitful Valley 
of Sorck, and then up the Wady Ismain to the Valley 
ol Rephaim (2 S. 5i8). (3) The third pass commences 
up the famous Valley of Elah and reaches the Judtean 
plateau at Bethsur — some five miles north of Hebron. 
Up this pass the SjTian general Lysias marched to 
tho defeat of Judas" Maccabgeus (1 Mac. 628/.). Al- 
though the mountain wall presented a formidable 
ban-ier to an enemy, the western frontier was further 
protected by the existence of the Shephelah or " low- 
land,"' which in the days of primitive warfare formed 
a country most suitable for border raids. 

The northern frontier was the weak spot, and was 
never defined with much certainty. Geographically 
there are several valleys which would make a suitable 
natural frontier, but practically the border ran, regard- 
less of natural features, across the central plateau in 
an ill-defined line between the Valley of Michmash in 
the east, and that of Ajalon in the west. Bethel and 
Al were on the north, and Geba, Ramah, and Gibeon 
fortified posts on tho south of the frontier. On this 
side the inhabitants of Judsea could never lull them- 
selves into a sense of security. 

The territory within these boundaries consists, in 
the main, of a high tableland from 2000 to 3000 feet 
above sea level, and 35 miles long by 12 to 17 miles 
broad. It is characterised by its bareness and com- 
parative sterility, yet with careful cultivation and the 
rei^air of terraces it might be much improved on its 
present condition. The district as a whole is but 
poorly supphed with springs, and " dew " is much 
scantier than in Galilee. The soil is in most places 
shallow, and l^are rock strata are everywhere much in 
evidence ; there are, however, areas of considerable 
fertility in many of the deeper valleys to the west. 
Many parts which are useless for agriculture afford 
good jmsturage, and flocks of goats and sheep are 
plentiful everywhere. Hard at the very doors of 
many of the most inhabited regions lay the wilderness 
— the Jeshimon or " devastation " of the OT — a 
long strip several miles broad skirting the Dead Sea. 
It is a region where, for eight months in the year, no 
green blade of grass is visible and no spring nourishes 
a solitary tree. Dry, scorched, and crumbling hill 
sides and stony torrent beds, where scant rushes of 
water occur scarcely a dozen days in the year, make 
up the scenery. It is almost rainless, as the westerly 
breezes passing these downward slopes rapidly ascend 
and actually carry off, instead of depositing, moisture. 
The greatest of Judsea's sons lived within daily sight 
of this extraordinary region, which makes a profound 
impression on even the passing tourist. David fled 
from Saul into this land, Jeremiah at Anathoth and 
Amos at Tekoah were both born on the very edge 
of this awful desert, and its imagery colours their 
writings. It was hero that John the Baptist began 
hia mission, and Jesus Christ Himself not only was 



there in His forty days' trial, but as the desert creeps 
up almost to Bethany itself. His eyes must very fre- 
quently have scanned its hills and valleys. 

The one wide outlook of Jerusalem is across this 
region, and Bethlehem, Etam, Tekoah, and Hebron 
were all near the borders of the wilderness. 

Nevertheless it was in this isolated, barren, and 
rocky land of Judsea, with the wilderness ever in their 
sight, that the Hebrew race developed their natural 
genius — braced by the hardness of their lot to a deeper 
Siith in their God. Here gave utterance prophet and 
seer : here too they survived, protected by their 
poverty and their mountain heights, 135 years after 
the Northern Kingdom fell : here after their exile 
they once again established themselves : and here 
through all their history they, to a remarkable extent, 
maintained the purity of their race from contamination 
by their idolatrous neighbours, whoso homes were 
within sight of their territory on every side. 

Hebron ( Jg. 1 10*), the earlier centre of the monarchy, 
occupied in ancient times a hilltop in a sheltered and 
fruitful valley amid the actual highlands of Judah, in 
touch towards the south with the Negeb, the home of the 
pastoral patriarchs. A desire to occupj^ a point more 
central in his dominions doubtless influenced David 
to occupy tho extraordinarily defensive site of Jeru- 
salem. The city of the Jebusites, which David took, 
occupied a narrow ridge with the Kedron Valley on 
the east and the south, and the valle}- — afterwards 
called the Tyxopceon — on the west. It was a position 
of natural strength, made doubtless almost impregnable 
by great walls. The copious spring — Gihon — which 
burst forth from under tho city was even at that time 
reached from within the walls by a long and comph- 
cated system of tunnels. From the time of David 
onward the city commenced to expand, and by the 
time of the later kings of Judah, it covered an area 
probably as extensive as the existing old walled-in 
city, though the walls of those days ran a good deal 
further south than they do at present. 

On the western side of the Judsean plateau there 
were a number of fortified posts, among the more 
important of which were the two Bethorons, guarding 
the pass, Chepherah of Benjamin, Kiriath Jearim, 
Chesalon, Gibeah of Judah, Gedor and Bethsur. 

But it was in the lowland, the Shephelah, that the 
great contests took place, especially in the early days, 
when the Philistines were a real menace to the 
Hebrews. This lowland region is cut off from tho 
highlands by a series of valleys running north and 
south. It is an area of rich verdure and freshness. 

'• The valleys also are covered over with grain, 
They shout for joy, they also sing."— (Ps. C5i3.) 

This region too is remarkable for its caves — ^notably 
round Beit Jebrin — which were doubtless much used 
as hiding-places in the old border warfare. Here was 
Keilah (1 S. 23) and Adullam, David's stronghold, 
and on its western border lay Gezer. Tho Valley of 
Sorek near the Camp of Dan is full of memories of 
Samson. Bethshemesh, now Ain Shems, Tlmnath, 
now Tibnah, and Zorah, now Surah — cvll within eight 
of each other — are connected with his memorv. Hero 
too, probably, was tho Imttle vnih the Pkilistiues 
when the Ark was captured, and later up this valley 
the milch kine came lowing, dragging back to Beth- 
shemesh the Ark which had proved so fateful to the 
Philistines (1 S. 6). The Vale of Elah a httlc further 
south, near the neighbourhood of Shocoh, now 
Shuweikeh, is famous as tho scone of the great doings 
of David and Goliath (1 tj. 17). Still further south 



32 



THE HOLY LAND 



lay tho frontier fortress, Mareshah, the birthplace of 
Micah, now Tell Sandahaniwh, a silo partially ex- 
cavated, and near to it is licit Jtbrin, which marks 
the site of the famous Greek city of Eleiithcropolis. 

(5) Lastly wc have on the south tho Negeb, meaning 
the " drv land," but translated in R\' usually as 
"the South" (Gen. 129, 13i,3, 20i, 2462, etc.)- 
This region is of great importance in connexion with 
the history of the patriarchs. It is " the steppe 
region which forms the transition of the true desert," 
the more southerly parts consists of rolling ridges 
running east and west for about 60 miles, beyond 
which is the utterly uninhabitable desert. Even the 
Isegcb is unsuited to any settled habitation, and 
except during the Byzantine period — when it is jx)8- 
siblo that climatic conditions were better — the only 
inhabitants were always nomads. Of such were the 
patriarchs when they dwelt there with their flocks 
and herds. As in ail life under such conditions good 
wells are, on account of their scarcitj-, of great value. 
They are a frequent subject of strife, and the digger 
of a good well has done a deed to make his name 
remembered to succeeding generations. Beershebais 
to-day one of the few sites peopled — and that only 
recently — by settled inhabitants. Its ancient wells 
have been cleaned out, and the water, pumped up by 
engines, is supplied to all the houses. 

Further south lie the famous springs, Ain Guderat 
and Ain Kedes, which belonged to the region of Kadesh 
Barnea, where the children of Israel spent nearly 
forty years. These springs made life possible — for 
nomads — but it must have been a hard one, and it 
can be well believed that the spoil of Canaan brought 
by the twelve spies must have seemed wonderful 
indeed. To trib^ emerging from such an environ- 
ment, Palestine was without doubt a land " flowing 
with milk and honey " (Xu. I325-27). 

11. The Jordan 'Valky. — The groat rift between 
Western and Eastern Palestine commences geographi- 
callj- far to the north as the Valley el Bukaa, between 
the Lebanon and Anti -Lebanon, and it runs on as el 
Arabah far south of the Dead Sea, indeed it is con- 
tinued on to the Gulf of Akaba. The part of the 
valley connected with Palestine is at once the deepest 
and tho most varied. The Jordan " the descender " 
arises by three (important) heads. The longest and 
most direct is the river Hasbany, which rises in a 
quiet pool NW. of Hasbaya, whence it runs, first 
througn woody banks, and then in a deep cleft be- 
tween Hermon and Jebel Dahar, a spur of Lebanon. 
The second and most remarkable source is that at 
Banias — once Panias, a sanctuary of Pan — where a 
full-grown river bursts, ice-cold, out of the foot of 
Hennon. In NT times Caesarea Philippi stood here, 
and the association of Peter's confession, " Thou art 
the Christ " (Mt. I616), with this sjx)t makes it pro- 
bable that the scene of the Transfig»iration should bo 
located on one of the neighbouring spurs of Hermon. 
The third source is at Tell el Kadi, the probable site 
of ancient Dan (though this may actually have been 
at Banias), the northern limit of the land of Palestine, 
where the water of tho river Leddan bubbles up from 
the ground in a couple of pools. These three streams 
come together about 1^ miles to the south of this, in 
a plain 5 miles wide, but the new-made river soon 
loses itself in a great papyrus nxarsh. This again 
opens into a .shallow triangular lake, Lake Huleh, 
considered, without suflGcient grounds, to be the Waters 
of Merom of Jos. 11 5-6. Lake Huleh is some 7 feet 
above sea level, and from thie tho Jordan descends in 
lees than 9 miles to tho Lake of Galilee, tiSO feet below 



sea level. Tho Lake of Galilee is 12^ miles long, 
and at its widest, 8 miles across. Tho toj>s of the 
steep hills to east and we.st are largely volcanic, and 
this, and tho absence of trees, make them look bare 
and menacing when the spring verdure is gone. Along 
the north shores there are deltas — el Ghuweir (Gennc- 
saret) and el Bataihah. These are regions of great 
fertility, and only require more extensive cultivation 
to produce wonderful results. AMien the oleanders 
on the lake-side are in bloom, the scenery is most 
beautiful. To the south of the lake the great plain — 
the ancient lake bottom — is 4 miles wide, and stretches, 
of varying breadth, all the way to tho Dead Sea. 
Near the exit of the Jordan, at es-Semakh, the Haifa- 
Damascus Railway touches the lake. At both ends of 
the lake the river-mouths are fordable. The water 
of the lake is clear and fresh ; it abounds in fish, but 
the fishing industry is but little developed. To-day 
there is but one squalid towTi, Tiberias, and three 
villages on the shores, but in NT times no less than 
eleven cities and towns flourished near the shores. 
Along tho north shore were the Jewish cities of 
IVIagdala, Capeniaum, Bethsaida, and a little inland, 
on the hills, Chorazin ; to the east were the Greek 
cities, Gergesa, Gamala, Hippos, and Gadara. On tho 
west side were Taricheae, Sinnabris, and Tiberias. 

From this lake the Jordan plain descends 65 miles 
to the Dead Sea, 1290 feet below sea-level. The 
river has cut out for itself a deeper bed from 50 to 
150 feet below the level of the old lake bottom. This 
is known as the Zor, and in the OT as the (lit. 
" pride ") swelling of Jordan (Jer. 125, 49i9, 5044)- 
Here in this deeper channel the muddy river winds 
and twists for nearly 200 miles between rank and 
tangled tropical vegetation — once the haunt of liona 
and other dangerous beasts — and at certain seasons, 
when swollen by the melting snows of Hermon, tho 
river overflows its banks in places over an area nearly 
a mile wide (Jos. 84). The important tributaries of 
the Jordan are the Yarmuk, the Hieromax of antiquity, 
and the Zerka or Jabbok (Gen. 322 2*). 

The Jordan is easily forded at many places, under 
normal conditions, but what made it so eflBcicnt a 
frontier was not merely the water, but the dangers of 
the route from man and beast, the scorching plain on 
either side, and tho long descents by rocky mountain 
paths to reach its level. 

Jericho originally nestled just below tho western 
hills, and owed its importance to its position astride 
a splendid spring and to its guarding tho ancient 
toad from tho valley into the heart of the hill country 
— the road down which Elijah and Eliaha, together 
for the last time, descended. 

The Dead Sea, 1290 feet below sea level, is some 
4S miles long bj' 12 broad, and reaches a depth of 
1300 feet. It lies between parallel, semi -precipitous, 
bare mountain ranges, which in many places, especially 
on the east side, fall .^heor into the water. Tne only 
tributary stream, besides the Jordan, is the Mojib or 
Arnon. The northern three-fourths, where the sea is 
deep, is cut off from tho shallow southern quarter 
(about 1 1 feet deep) by a peculiar peninsula, el Lisan, 
" the tongue." In this southern bav tho water is so 
saturated with salt that it crystallises out on the 
bottom of tho sea. On the average the water con- 
tains 25 per cent, of mineral salts, about five times 
that of the ocean. Although no hfe can exist in such 
water, small fish and lower fonns of life inhabit tho 
shallows and pools along tho shore where brackish 
springs dilute the water. Bird life is abundant at 
many spots on tho shore. There are submarine do- 



THE HOLY LAND 



33 



posits of asphalt, as largo masses have at times floated 
to the surface, and probably petroleum also occurs 
in places. Possibly the tradition of the catastrophe 
to the " cities of the plain " — the site of which is 
not kno\vn — originated in some conflagration of 
petroleum in this region (p. 152). 

III. The district East of the Jordan, known in 
OT as Abarim or " (those on) the other side," is 
richer and more varied than that to the west. To the 
north of Palestine proper, north-east of Hermon, is 
the Ghutah or plain of Damascus, a great oasis of 
watered gardens and orchards, iiTigatcd by the Barada 
or Abana and the Awaj or Pharpar, rivers which 
finally lose themselves in marshy lakes to the east of 
the city. The real East-Jordan land is di%'idcd into 
four parts by the deep channels of the three rivers, 
the Yarmuk, the Zerka, and the Mojib. All the land 
north of the Yarmuk and south of the Hermon and 
the Damascus plain receive in the OT the general namo 
of Bashan (Nu. 2I33-35*) ; in the NT time it formed a 
large part of the tetrarchy of Philip, though much was 
denominated by the Nabataean Arab king. To-day 
it is politically included under the general name of 
the Hauran. This region is b\' no means homogeneous 
and is divided by physical differences. Bordering the 
Upper Jordan Valley on the east side lies the black 
plateau of the Jaulan vnXh. its double row of extinct 
volcanoes. In NT times it was known as Gaulanitis, 
while in the OT the city Golan, one of the " cities 
of refuge " which has given rise to the later name was 
situated here. Running cast of the Jaulan is the 
" hollow " plain of the Hauran proper, a district lying 
lower than its neighbours, consisting of a vast wheat - 
growing expanse of extraordinary fertility. The 
southern part also has the local modern name of en 
Nukra. This whole district in the NT days was 
called Auranitis and in the OT Hauran (Ezek. 47 16, 
18) — the ancient name has thus remarkably survived. 
The very extensive ruins of towns, built of black 
basalt blocks, not infrequently covered mth Greek 
inscriptions, shows that in the early Christian centuries 
this district was thickly inhabited. East again of the 
Hauran is the Leja, a great area of lava, some 20 feet 
high and 24 miles long by 20 miles wide. It is a wild 
region, in which the most intricate paths through the 
natural cracks in the lava lead to Druze villages 
hidden away out of reach of the Turks. The Greek 
writers, contemporary with the NT, called this and 
a similar outflow of lava to the north of it a Trachon, 
and the district Trachonitis. South of the Leja we 
have the Jebel Hauran (also called the Jebel Druz 
because it is the stronghold of the Druzcs) a group 
of extinct volcanoes rising in places to nearly 6OOO feet. 
This is Mount Asalmos of the Greek writers and per- 



haps " Mount Bashan " of the OT. Between the 
Yarmuk and the Zerka or Jabbok is the fertile, once 
well-wooded, district of Jebel Ajlun. Here were many 
of the great cities of the Decapolls — Gadara, Pella, 
Dion, Gerasa, Abila, and Kapitolias. The remaining 
members of this league of Greek free cities were 
mostly, so far as they have been identified, in the 
near neighbourhood. Hippos was only just across 
the Yarmuk near Gadara, Philadelphia (once Ramoth 
Ammon, now Amman) on the higher reaches of the 
Jabbok on the south. Kanatha, the most easterly 
member of tlie league, was at the foot of the Jebel 
Hauran, and Scythopolis, the most westerly, was 
alone west of the Jordan. Parts of this Jebel Ajliin 
district in NT times were included in Peraea. In the 
OT this district is the northern " Half Gilead " or 
•' rest of Gilead " (Dt. 813, Jos. 125). The district 
between the Zerka and the Mojib or Amon is known 
as the Belka. and is administered from Nablus ; it 
consists of rolling downs, a pastoral country. In the 
NT it formed the main part of Persea : it was a 
Jewish district, in contrast %vith Samaria to its west 
and Deca polls to the north. Jews often traversed 
this land between Gahlee and Judaea to avoid hostile 
Samaria (c/. Mk. 10 1). In the OT this forms the 
southern " Half Gilead " (Dt. 3i8, Jos. I24)— the two 
half-Gileads making •' the Land of Gilead " (Nu. 32i, 
29, Jos. 175,6), and Mount Gilead (Gen. 3121,25). 
It is also designated the Mlshor or " plain country." 
The region south of the Mojib, which is to-day under 
the Governor of Kerak (the ancient Kir of Moab), 
was in OT times the main part of the kingdom of 
Moab, although this region at times extended north 
of the Mojib (Amon) even to Madeba. The country 
is, as we should expect from the OT, a great pasture- 
land for sheep and goats (c/. 2 K. 34). 

In the NT this land was part of the territory of 
the Nabatjeans, as was all the district further south 
and much of that to the east of the districts mentioned 
above. The centre of their kingdom was at Petra, and 
their influence was wide. Damascus fell into their hands 
in 87 B.C. Their whole land was known as Arabia ; 
it is to some part of this territory that Paul refers 
when he %mtes (Gal. I17), " I went away into Arabia." 

Literature. — G. A. Smith, Historical Geography of 
the Holy Land; C. F. Kent, Biblical Geography and 
History : E. Huntington, Palestine a7id its Transforma- 
tion; Socin, revised by Benzinger (1912), Baedeker's 
Palestine and Syria; Palestine Exploration Fund's 
Survey of Western Palestine, Survey of Eastern Pales- 
tine, Quarterly Statements, 1869-1914; special articles 
in HDB, HSDB, DCG, EB, EBi; G. A. Smith, Atlas 
to the Historical Geography of the Holy Land ; Gutho, 
Bibel-Atlas. 



THE LANGUAGES OF THE OLD TESTAMENT 



By Professor G. A. COOKE 



1. The name Hebrew.— By far the greater part of the OT 
was written in Hebrew, the rest is in Aramaic (below). 
The name Ihbrciv comes from the Gr. 'E^paioi, in Lat. 
Hebraeus, which represents the Aram, 'ebhrdyd = ^ch. 
'ibhrl. In the OT, however, 'ibhrl is not the name of the 
language, but of the people who spoke it, and is used 
by foreigners (e.(7. Gen. 39i4 ; P]x. Ii6 ; 1 S, 46,9, 14ii) 
and by Israelites to distinguish themselves from for- 
eigners {e.g. Ex. 2ii, 3i8 ; Dt. I012 ; Jon. I9). The 
OT name for the language is Jeivish (2 K. 1826,28 ; 
Neh. 1824), just as the later literature describes the 
Israelites as fhe Jews (Hag., Neh., Est.), The Gr. term 
ippal'(TTl is first used for the old Heb. tongue in the 
Prologue to Ecclus., c. 130 B.C., and this is the sense 
which it has in Rev. 9ii ; elsewhere in the NT it 
means, not Hebrew, but Aramaic, the vernacular of 
Palestine at the time (Jn. 52, 1913,17; perhap also 
1920, Rev. I616). It is not quite certain whether ^ 
'E^patz <p(ov7] in 4 Mac. 12;, 16i5,and ij'Efipah BtdKeKTos 
in Ac. 2I40, 222, 2614, refer to the old Hebrew or to 
the Aramaic of popular speech ; but the context in 
Ac. 2I40 makes it probable that the former is in- 
tended. Like the NT, Josephus means by Hebrew 
both the classical language and the Aramaic dialect of 
his time. 

2. Origlp of Hebrew. — In form the name 'ibkrl is 
an adjective used as a gentihc noun, derived from 
'abhar = '' pass," " cross," " traverse " ; hence 'ibhri = 
" one who crosses," " one from the other side." And 
so, no doubt, native tradition understood the word : 
Abram and his family were called Hebrews because 
they had come from the other aide of the Euphrates 
(c/. Jos, 242f.,i4f.), or of the Jordan, if the name arose 
in Canaan ; hence LXX in Gen. 14i3 renders " Abram 
the cro.s.sor" (6 wepdr*;?, Aquila 6 irf patrrji, " the man 
from beyond "). But there is evidence which points 
to a diilerent explanation. In J's genealogy (Gen. 
1021,24,25-30) all the iSemitio races are derived from 
Eber, a name which ougiit i)roperly to l^elong to 
the ancestor of the Hebrews, i.e. of only one of the 
Semitic, races. Perhajw, then, there wa-s a time when 
" Hebrews " included many more famihes than the 
Israelites ; the root 'abluir does not necessarily mean 
to cross (a river), it has also the sense of to traverse 
(Nu. 20i9f. ; Ezek. 514, 3328, 39i4, etc.); moreover, 
there must bo more than an accidental resemblance 
between the Hebrews and tlio Habini/p. .").">), mentioned 
in the Tell ol-Aniania ic^ttors (c. 1400 n.c.) a« nomad 
hordes who were threatening the settled {wpulation 
of Canaan. So it is possible that Hebrews was at 
first the name of a group of tribes who invaded Canaan 
in the fifteenth century n.c, and that in time the name 
was applied to the Israelites as the survivors of these 
immigrants from the desert. According to Heb. 
tradition the ancestors of the race wore closely con- 
nected with the Aramasans (.see Gen. 11 28-30 J, 



2224 JR, 244 ff. J, 2520 P, 285 P, 29i E, 12,14 J, 
3120,24 E ; Dt. 265), probably not with the settled 
Aramjeans of Harran in N.W. Mesopotamia, but with 
the nomad Aramjeans of the Syrian desert, who had 
not crossed the Euphrates. When the Hebrews 
arrived in Canaan they readily adopted the language 
of the coimtry, which differed but sUghtly (it may 
be conjectured) from their own mother - tongue. 
But however we interpret the tradition, Canaan 
was the native home of Heb., and the Canaanite lan- 
guage its immediate parent. Tlie earliest evidence 
for this indigenous language comes from the Tell el- 
Amarna tablets, which are written in Babylonian and 
addressed to the Egj-ptian Pharaoh by officials hving 
in Canaan (p. 55). Occasionally words are explained by 
their equivalents in a language which is almost identi- 
cal with Heb. ; again, words and forms occur when the 
writer could not remember the correct Bab., and so 
used his native Canaanite, Then in the OT itself we 
have the evidence of Canaanite names of persons and 
places — e.g. Melchizedek, Kirjath-sepher ; the names 
of the primitive mhabitants of the land given in Gen. 
362off, have forms which are akin to Heb. {e.g. Sbobal, 
Dishon, Zibcon, Alvan, Manahath, Ithran, etc.); and 
in Heb. wo find negeb (ht. " dryness ") used for the 
South, the Avaterless hill-country S. of Judah ; yam = 
" sea " used for the West ; whale in Is, 19i8 the lan- 
guage is called the lip of Caneuin, JYom the Moabit© 
Stone (c. 850 B.C.) we learn that the Moa bites spoke 
practically the same tongue as the Israehtes, and no 
doubt the other neighbouring peoples did the same, 
with differences of pronunciation. Lastly, there is the 
evidence of the Phoenician inscriptions. These are 
almost all later than the sixth century b.c. ; most of 
them belong to the fourth centurj' and later, by which 
time the language had undergone considerable decay. 
But the material which has survived proves that the 
i-esemblance between Heb. and Phoen. is exceedingly 
close, and leads to the conclusion that both were 
independent offshoots of a common stock, which must 
have been no other than the ancient Canaanite. 

3. Place of Hebrew among the Semitic Languages. — 
These may bo groujied as follows : A. North-Semitic, 
including (1) Babylonian and Assjnnan ; (2) Aramaic, 
in numerous dialects ; (3) Canaanite, Hebrew, Moabite, 
Phoenician. B. South-Semitic, including (1) Arabic; 
(2) Elhiopic ; (3) Sabcean, the language of a settled 
and civiUzcd race in S.W. Arabia, known from inscrip- 
tions. All these languages have certain features in 
common e.g. the word-stems or roots are composed 
of three consonants, though it may be inferred that 
there was a stage, before the historical jx^riod, at which 
two consonants formed the root, and that a third 
consonant was added later to develop the root^meaning 
in various directions ; the consonants rather than the 
vowels form the staple of the linguistio structure ; 



THE LANGUAGES OF THE OLD TESTAMENT 



35 



the noun may be taken as tlio basis upon which the 
verb was formed by the addition of pronominal frag- 
ments before or after to express verbal action ; the 
verb has two tenses, used in a peculiar way ; the noun 
has two genders, masc. and fern., and its various rela- 
tions are expressed by case-endings (Arab.) or by other 
expedients (Heb., Aiam., etc.) ; the obhque cases of 
the possessive pronoun, and the pronominal object of 
the verb, are expressed by suffixes added to the noun 
or to the inflected form of the verb ; except in proper 
names these languages do not lend themselves to the 
formation of compounds ; there is great simplicity in 
the expression of syntactical relations, though in 
Arab, and Syr. this docs not hold good to the same 
extent as in Heb. ; there are few adverbs. Among 
these languages, Ai'ab. comes nearer to the original 
Semitic than any other, owing, no doubt, to the 
monotony and isolation of life in the desert ; yet there 
are features in which Heb.. and even Aram., is more 
ancient than Arabic. The connexion between Heb. and 
Aram, is particularly close, and appears in the earhe.st 
Aram, known to us, that of the inscriptions from 
Zenjirh and Nerab in N. Syria (early eighth centuiy and 
seventh century B.C.), and of the inscription of Zakkur, 
king of Hamath in Central SjTia (eighth century B.c.) ; 
thus the Arab, aspirated dentals ih, dh, z are repre- 
sented by the Heb. and Ass. equivalents sh, z, s, and 
not by tiie usual Aram, sounds t, d, t; at the same 
time the Arab, d (rfad)=Heb. s (s5Je)=Aram. 'ayin 
finds its equivalent in q, as sometimes elsewhere in 
Aramaic. The language of these early Aram, inscrip- 
tions is therefore remarkably like that of the OT. 

4. Characteristics of Hebrew. — In syntax Heb. 
belongs to a primitive stage of development ; it has 
no elaborated system of expressing the subordination 
of sentences, it simply co-ordinates them by the 
conjunction " and " ; the subtler connexions have 
to be supplied by thought. Imagination also plays 
a large part in the use of the tenses. The perfect and 
imperfect do not determine the date, but only the 
character of an action as complete or incomplete ; the 
date must be learnt from the context. Both tenses, 
therefore, may refer to the past, present, and future. 
A prophet speaking of the future can use the perfect, 
because he regards the event as already completed 
(e.g. Is. 5i3, 9i-6 ; Nu. 24i7 ; Am. 02); a poet can 
use the imperfect of a past act, because he pictures 
it as taking place under the eye {e.g. Ps. 181-20(21) ; 
Ex. 155,i2,i4ff.). From this it will be seen that Heb. 
is better adapted for poetry than for the expression 
of systematic thought. When a writer attempts to 
deal with abstract ideas, Uke the author of Ecclesiastes, 
or to formulate a dogma, as Ezekiel does in ch. 18, 
he becomes obscure or laboured. Another character- 
istic of classical Heb. is the use of tvaw conver.iive or 
consecutive with the perfect to continue an imperfect, 
or with the imperfect to continue a perfect 1 ; but in 
late books, such as Chronicles, this consecutive tvaw 
with the imperfect tends to be disjjlaced by weak tcaw 
(an ordinary " and ") with the perfect, and in post- 
Biblical Heb. this has become the regular usage. One 
more noteworthy feature of Heb. may be added hero : 
it concerns the relation between the vowels and the 
tone or accent. In Heb. the original three short 
vowels d, », ?i are lengthened under the tone, or in 
the open syllable immediately before the tone. In 
the old Heb. writing there was no indication of vowels ; 
Outside the OT. waw conv. with the impt occurs in the 
Moabite Stone, and in the inscription of Zakkur mentioned above, 
fragment A, lines 11-15; in Phoenician waw conv. with the pf. 
occurs in the MareeUles and Cartha(?1nian Tarlfb (Cooke, ^'.-Sew. 
Inter., 426,8,io,ii. 434,5. 



then later the consonants he, uxiw, yodh were used as 
vowel letters, and finally vowel points were inserted 
to remove ambiguities and to make it clear how the 
words were to be pronounced. This last stage occurred 
between the jVIishnah (c. 200 a.d.) and the rise of the 
Massoretic school (seventh and eighth centuries a.d.). 
5. Historical. — Considering that the OT writings 
cover a period of some thousand j'cars, the language 
presents on the surface a remarkable uniformity ; but 
this is largely due to the labours of the schools and to 
the requirements of the synagogue. A great variety 
of style and diction appears in the different books, and 
a golden and silver age of literature can be distinguished. 
The dividing line may be drawn in the century after 
the Exile, in the time of Neheraiah (c. 450 b.c.). The 
finest specimens of Heb. prose are to be found in JE, 
the older narratives in Jg., 1 and 2 S., 1 and 2 K., and 
in Dt. For the purest and best compositions in poetry 
and rhythmical prose we go to the eighth century 
prophets and the ancient poems in the historical books. 
In Jer., parts of 2 K., Ezek., 2 Is., Hag., Zech. (both 
parts), a change begins to be felt, though it is not 
prominent, in the language ; the style of P exhibits 
about the same signs of lateness as Ezek., Hag., Zech., 
but hardly more. The earlier documents in Ezr. and 
Neh. reveal a marked change, which becomes still 
more evident in Ch. (c. 300 b.c). The Chronicler has 
a style of his own, which in uncouthneas goes further 
than that of any other OT writer, while Ec. already 
makes use of idioms and forms which are characteristic 
of the new Hebrew of the Mishnah. The Heb. frag- 
ments of Ecolus., which have lately come to hght, 
approach nearer to the classical standard than Ch., 
Est., Ec, Dan., and show that good Heb. was written 
and understood in the early part of the second century 
B.C. All these later books are more or less affected 
by the growing influence of Aram. Some books of the 
Ai)ocr}'pha besides Ecclus. were originally composed 
in Heb., probably modelled upon that of the OT, but 
also partly in Aram., e.g. 1 Mac, Bar., 2 Esd. 3-14 ; 
and the same holds good of many of the Jewish Apoca- 
lypses, from c. 200 B.C. to 10 a.d., viz. Enoch, Jubilees, 
Ascension of Moses (? in Aram.), Test, of Twelve Patr., 
Pss. of Sol. These books, of which the originals are 
now lost, bridged over the interval between the later 
Heb. of the OT. and the new Heb. of the Mishnah. 

6. Hebrew Supplanted by Aramaic. — Before the 
latest books of the OT. were written, Heb. had begim 
to give place to Aram, in popular speech, but it held its 
own as the language of religion and of the schools. 
Already the compiler of Ezr. -Neh., i.e. probably the 
Chronicler, c. 300 B.C., transcribes large portions from an 
Aram, work, and similarly the author of Dan. (c. 170 
B.C.) uses both languages. By this time, the Maccabean 
period, althoutrh Heb. was read and understood, the 
Jews of Palestine had learnt to speak Aram. The 
" holy tongue " was cultivated only by the learned. 
What the Heb. language became in their hands is 
seen in the Mishnah, the traditional, oral law codified 
in both Talmuds, which reached its present ofiBcial 
form c. 200 a.d. ; and later still in the various inde- 
pendent Midru-shim. 

7. The Massorah.— The MSS. of the Heb. OT are 
all comparatively late, five or six centuries later than 
the great uncial" MSS. ot the NT. The oldest Heb. 
MS. with a date attached which can be accepted with 
confidence is the Codex Babylonicus at Petrograd, 
containing Is.-Mal.. 916 a.d. Moreover, all Heb. 
MSS. belong to one recension or type, which was settled 
by the minute care of the scholars of the seventh and 
eighth centuries a.d., known aa Maasorotes, the 



3G 



THE LANGUAGES OF THE OLD TESTAMENT 



guardianfl of Ma^sdrah, i.e. tradition, who fixed the 
text, protected it by rules, and dotorminod how it 
was to be read and interpreted. And before the 
Massoretic era great care must have been devoted to 
the text, for it was substantially the same in the second 
to fourth centuries, as quotations in the Talmud show ; 
but in the preceding ages it underwent the usual 
vicissitudes, and to recover the earlier state of the text 
we must weigh the evidence of the Versions, which wore 
all made long l)eforo the Massoretic period (pp. 40-42). 

8. Hebrew Writing. — If we could discover the ancient 
MSS. of the OT, wo should find that they were not 
written in the " square character " used in our present 
MSS. and printed editions. The Jews have preserved 
the recollection of a change made from the Hebrew 
character to the Assyrian {i.e. Syrian or Aram.), and 
they ascribed it to Ezra (Talm. B. San., 21b). In 
reality the change was gradual, and not the work of 
one man or of one age. The Heb. character used by 
the OT writers was the old Semitic alphabet, found on 
the Moabite Stone, the Aram, and Phcen. inscriptions, 
and the Heb. inscriptions discovered at Siloara (c. 700 
B.C.), at Samaria (written on fragments of pottery), 
at GJezer (? sixth centurj'), and used on Heb. seals and 
coins. The process by which the ancient script was 
modified into the square character maj' be traced in 
the Aram, papyri and inscriptions ; in its developed 
form it was adopted by the Jews along with the Aram, 
speech. When the transition took i)lace we do not 
faiow for certain ; it must have been before the 
Christian era (see Mt. 5 is). The Heb. MSS. which 
lay before the LXX translators, except probably the 
MSS. of the Pentateuch (translated tliird century B.C.), 
must have been written in an early form of the square 
character. 

Aramaic is the name given in the OT itself to the 
language in which some parts of it are written, viz. 
Dan. 24b-728 ; Ezr. 48-6i8, 7i2-26 ; two words in 
Gen. 31 47 ; and the gloss Jer. lOii. Properly Aramaic 
is the name of the people who spoke it, Aram or 
Syrians. This branch of the Semitic stock inhabited 
Mesopotamia and N. Syria, in many tribes and settle- 
ments. Their language spread far and wide, from 
Mesopotamia to Egypt, from the mountains of Kurdi- 
stan to Cappadocia. It was used for commerce and 
diplomacy in the eighth century B.C., as we know 
from the Aram, inscriptions on weights and contracts 
from Nineveh, and from 2 K. I826 ; and long before 
900 B.C. the Aram, speech and, perhaps, writing were 
widely spread all over Syria, and had taken the place 
of the Bab. cuneiform of five hundred years earlier 
(Tell el-Amama tablets, c. 1400 B.C.). In Palestine, 
as we have seen, it supplanted Heb. in the end ; hence 
nearly all the Semitic words quoted in the NT are 
Aram. 

The dialects may be grouped under two heads : 
Eastern Aram., including (1) Syriac, spoken at Edessa 
in N.W. Mesopotamia, (2) the dialect of the Bab. 
Talmud, (3) Mandaic ; and Western Aram., including 
(1) the dialect of N. and Central Sjnia, represented by 
the oldest Aram, inscriptions from the eighth centtiry 
onwards ; (2) Egv^jtian Aram., found chiefly on papyri 
from the fifth contury onwards ; the inscription from 
Tema in N. Arabia, the inscriptions from Cappadocia 
and on coins of Tarsus reveal a dialect of the same typo ; 
(3) Biblical Aram. ; (4) Nabataean ; (5) Palmyrene ; 
(6) the Aram, of Targums Onkelos on the Pent, and 
Jonathan on the Prophets ; (7) Galilsean Aram., in 



the Jerusalem Talmud and certain Midrashim— the 
dialect spoken by our Lord and the apostles ; (8) 
Christian Palestinian Aram., in translations of the 
Gospels from c. the fifth century A.D. ; (9) Samaritan ; 
(10) the Aram, of the Targums on the Hagiographa, 
and the " Jerusalem " Targum on the Pentateuch. 
The Aram, of the OT is most closely related to the 
dialects spoken in and around Palestine, i.e. to nos. 
(2), (4), (5). It is a mistake to suppose that the Jews 
learnt Aram, in Babylon and brought it home with 
them ; it was there already ; they learnt it by inter- 
course with their neighbours in Palestine. The Aram, 
of Dan. is different from the dialect which was spoken 
in Babylonia at the period of Nebuchadnezzar. 

Literature. — Hebrew. Grammars: (1) elementary, 
A. B. Davidson i», (McFadyen) ; Wood and Lanchester ; 
(2) advanced, Gescnius-Kautzsch ** (tr. by Cowley) ; 
Driver, Tenses in IJeh.^ ; A. B. Davidson, Heb. Syntax; 
EweAd, Syntax of the Heb. Language; Stado, Lehrbuch 
der Heb. Qrammatik ; Konig, Lehrgehdude der Heb. 
Sprache, 2 vols., and Syntax. Lexicons: Heb. and 
Engl. Lexicon, ed. by Brown. Driver. Briggs; Geeeniup- 
Buhl, Heb. und Aram. Wbrterbuch^* \ Kimhi, Radi- 
cum Liber, ed. by Biesenthal u. Leorecht ; Ochlah 
W'ochlah (a dictionary of the Massorah), ed. by Frems- 
dorff. Concordances : B. Davidson, 1876 ; the con- 
cord, publ. at Warsaw, 1883 ; Mandolkem (the fullest 
concord, publ.) ; also a smaller edition ; Noldius, 
Concordantiae Particularum Ebr.-Chald., Jena edition, 
1734. 

Aramaic (Biblical) — Grammars: Kautzsch, Gram, 
des Biblisch- Aramdischen ; Marti, Oram, der biblisch- 
aramaischen Sprache. Lexicons : Levy, Chalddiaches 
Worterbuch ; and the Heb. Lexicons above. 

Aramaic (Targums, Talmud, Midrash). — Grammars : 
Strack u. Siegfried, Lehrb. der neuhebrdischen Sprache; 
Dalman, Gram, des p'ldisch-paldstinischen Aramdisch, 
and Die Worte Jesu ; Segal, Mifnaic Hebrew ; Mar- 
golis, 31anual of the Aram. Language of the Babylonian 
Talmud ; Merx, Chrestomathia Targumica. Lexicons : 
Plenus Aruch, ed. Kohut, 8 vols. ; Levy, Chald. 
Worterbuch (above), and Neuhebrdisches u. Chaldd- 
isches Worterbuch, 4 vols. ; Dalman, Aram.-u. neuheb. 
Worterbuch ; Marcus Jastrow, Diet, of the Targ., the 
Talm. Babli and Yeruahalmi, and the Midrashic Lit., 
2 vols. 

Syriac. — Grammars : Brockelmann, Syrische Qram- 
matik^; Noldcke. Syr. Gram.; Duval, Traiti de 
Oram. Syriaque. Le>dcons : Payaie-Smilh, Thesaurus 
Syriacus. 2 vols. ; J. Paj-ne-Smith, Syrian Dictionary. 

Arabic. — Grammars: (1) elementary, Thatcher, 
Arab.Orammar; (2) advanced. Wright..4ra6.(?mmmar', 
2 vols. ; Vernier, Grammaire Arabe. 2 vols. Lexicons: 
Lane, Arabic- English Lexicon, 8 parts ; Kazimirski, 
Diet, arabe-fram^ais. 2 vols.; Wortabet. Arab.- Engl. 
Did. 

The Semitic Languages. — Wright, Z^c/urr* on the 
Compnrrtt ve Grammar of the Semitic Languages ; 
Noldcke, Semitic Languages, in EB ", and Beitrdge 
zur aemitischen Sprachunssenschaft ; Lagarde, Ueber- 
sicht iiber die . . . BiWung der Nomina ; Barth, Die 
Nominalbildung in den semitischen Sprnrhrn* ; Zim- 
mem, Vergleichende Gram.dersetn. Sprarhen ; Brockel- 
mann. Orundriss der tvrghichenden Oram, der sem, 
Sprarhen, 2 vols, (abbreviated and tr. into French, 
Precis de Linguistique S^mitique) ; Lidzbarski, Nord- 
semitische Epigraphik ; Cooke, North-Semitic Jnaerip- 
tions. 



CANON AND TEXT OF THE 
OLD TESTAMENT 

By Principal JOHN SKINNER 



I. FORMATION OF THE CANON.— The starting- 
point of all historical inquiry into the origin of the 
OT Oanon is the grouping and enumeration of books 
which is found in all Hebrew MSS and Bibles, and 
represents the tradition of Palestinian Judaism. The 
Canon, as thus arranged, consists of 24 books, divided 
into 3 groups as follows. I. The Law : the 5 books 
of Mosea. II. The Prophets : (a) the Former Prophets, 
Jos., Jg., S., K. (4 books) ; (b) the Latter Prophets, 
Is., Jer., Ezek., the Twelve (Minor) Prophets (4 books). 
in. The Hagiographa (Kethubim = '' \sTitings ") : Ps., 
Pr., Job ; the five Megilloth or Rolls (Ca., Ru., Lam., 
Ec, Est.); Dan., Ezr (with Neh.), Ch. (11 books).i 
While tradition varies slightly as to the order of the 
books within the second and third divisions, the 
division itself is rigidly maintained : there is never any 
doubt to which part of the Canon a particular book 
belongs. In the Talmud the number 24 and the 
tripartite classification are so firmly established that 
" The Twenty-four," and " The Law, the Prophets, 
and the Writings " are standing designations for 
canonical Scripture. The number 24 does not occur 
earlier than the Apocalypse of Ezra (2 or 4 Esd.), 
written towards the close of the first Christian century. 
We read in 1437f. that Ezra, inspired by the Holy 
Ghost, dictated in 40 days the scriptures destroyed at 
the capture of Jerusalem in 94 volumes, the first 24 of 
which (the canonical books) he was to publish immedi- 
ately, while the remaining 70 (the esoteric apocalyptic 
writings) were to be handed down secretly. This 
transparent fiction, which dominated Christian theology 
down to the Reformation, shows quite clearly that 
24 was the recognised number of sacred books in the 
circles in which the writer of 4 Esd. moved. It is 
true that his younger contemporary Josephus gives the 
number as 22, dividing them into 5 of Moses, 13 of 
Prophets, and 4 of hymns to God and precepts for 
men.* But this statement, while it breaks absolutely 
with the traditional arrangement of tlie books, implies 
no disagreement as to the contents of the Canon ; for 
it is practically certain that the number 22 is only an 
artificial modification of the original 24, suggested by 
the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet (Origen), 
and arrived at by attaching Ru. to Jg., and Lam. to 
Jer. The threefold division can be traced back to a 
much earlier date. The Greek translator of Ecchis. 
(c. 130 B.C.) alludes to it three times in his short Pro- 
logue ; it is referred to in a work (£)e vita contemplaliva) 
attributed to PhUo (c. a.d. 50), and possibly also in 

1 Thla Jewish Canon is. as regards contents, identical with the 
thirty-nine books of the Engliflh OT. the difference in number being 
accounted for by tlie fact that in our version S.. K.. Ch., and Ezr.- 
Neh. are divided into two books each, and that each of the twelve 
Minor Prophets is counted as a separate volume. 

2 Besides adding Ru. to Jg. and Lam. to Jer.. Joeephus seems to 
have reckoned Ch.. Ezr.. Dan.. Job and Est. as historical and there- 
fore prophetical works, leaving for his third division Ps.. Pr..Ca..Ec. 



Lk. 2444. It is to be noted, however, that in all three 
cases the designation of the Hagiographa is vague or 
partial, and not such as to imply that they formed a 
definite collection. 

In this tripartite division, then, modem investigators 
find the key to the formation of the Canon. The 
entire absence of any logical principle of classification 
shows that it cannot have been the act of a single 
individual such as Ezra ; and the theory (propounded 
by Elias Levita in the sixteenth century, ana introduced 
into Protestant theology by the elder Buxtorf) that it 
was the work of the '' Men of the Great SjTiagogue " ia 
not only destitute of any solid basis in Jewish tradition, 
but has been shattered by the demonstration that no 
such body as the Great Synagogue (at least in the 
sense of a permanent ecclesiastical commission) ever 
existed. All the external evidence at our disposal, as 
well as the critical determination of the dates of certain 
books, points to the conclusion that the three divisions 
represent three successive stages of canonisation ; the 
oldest canon having consisted of the Law alone, the 
second of the Law plus the Prophets, and the thiid of 
Law and Prophets plus the Hagiographa. In short, 
the grouping of the books is the result of a protracted 
historical process, which we shall now very briefly 
sketch with the help of such information as we possess. 

1. The Law. — The Pentateuch is a composite pro- 
duction composed of several minor codes and docu- 
ments, and did not reach its final form till after the 
return of the Jews from exile. Hence it is impossible 
to place its complete canonisation earlier than the 
fifth century B.C. How far the older strata of legisla- 
tion and history possessed anything like canonical 
authority wo cannot tell ; but there are two historic 
events which have an important bearing on the ques- 
tion. One is the promulgation, in 621 B.C., of the 
Deuteronomic law (2 K. 22f.), and the other the 
publication (probably about 444 b.c.) of a Book of the 
Law brought by Ezra from Babylon (Neh. 8-10). In 
each case a Law Book was solemnly accepted by the 
people as the basis of a covenant with God, and there- 
fore as having normative authority for religion and 
the conduct of life. It is stiU uncertain whether Ezra's 
Law Book was the entire Pentateuch or only that part 
of it which is known as the Priestly Code. If the 
former, then the canonisation of the Law may be 
definitely assigned to the date of Ezra's covenant; 
but if the latter, all we can say is that canonisation 
followed on the amalgamation of the Priestly Code 
with the older material of the Pentateuch, which had 
already been incorixjrated with the Law Book of 621. 
On any view the transactions of 621 and 444 are of 
fundamental .significance as revealing the manner in 
which the idea of canonicity entered mto the theology 
of Judaism. It springs from the conception of religion 



38 



CANON AND TEXT OF THE OLD TESTAMENT 



as a covenant between God and Israel, and adds to 
this conception the idea of an inspired book in which 
the terms of the covenant are formulated. The second 
half of the conception was capable of being extended 
to other writings, as wo shall see ; but the notion of 
statutory prescription so dominated Jcwiish thought to 
the end that tho Law, which was the oldest Canon, 
always remained tho standard and typo of canonicity, 
to which other scriptures might approximate, but to 
which they could never altogether attain. The lower 
limit for the canonisation of the Law is fixed by the 
adoption of tho Jewish Pentateuch by the Samaritan 
community. Tho most probable date of this occur- 
rence is about 330 b.c. A comparison of the Jewish 
and Samaritan Pcntateuchs proves that the Law, very 
nearly in its present form, was before that time the 
recognised sacred book of Judaism ; and the fact that 
no other books were taken over by the Samaritans 
shows unmistakably that at the time of separation 
the Law alone constituted tho sacred Canon of the Jews. 
2. The Prophets. — Tho nucleus of a second Canon, 
however, was already in existence when the first was 
formed. We hat^e seen that in its ultimate form this 
second Canon was composed of two dissimilar parts : 
four historical books, and four books which are pro- 
phetic in the ordinary sense. Each of these divisions 
traces its literary ancestry to pro-exilic times. The 
former, indeed, appears to have been originally tho 
later part of a great historical work, compiled during 
the Exile, from which, in the time of Ezra, the Penta- 
teuch was detached and mvested with canonical autho- 
rity. The subsequent redaction which these books 
(Jos.-K.) underwent may have taken place at a com- 
paratively early period ; and so the " Former Pro- 
phets " may have existed very much as we now have 
them before the Samaritan schism in 330. The motive 
for their eventual canonisation, and the explanation 
of their position alongside of the prophetic writings, 
was no doubt the belief that they had been written 
by prophets, and therefore had the same Divine 
authority as the prophetic oracles themselves. Simi- 
larly, the great mass of the strictly prophetical literature 
was in the hands of the scribes of the fifth century. 
That these writings were immediately inspired by God 
was ceitainly the belief of tho post-exilic Church 
(Zech. Isf., 7i2, 89). But inspiration was not yet 
equivalent to canonicity. Hence, while the work of 
collecting, arranging, and annotating tho writings of 
the prophets was diligently prosecuted in tho two and 
a half centuries that followed the canonisation of the 
Law, there was no attempt to treat them as a fixed 
collection ; and prophecies as late as the third century 
have been admitted into our prophetic Canon. The 
decisive impulse towards tho canonisation of this class 
of writings was doubtless the cessation of the living 
voice of prophecy in the Jewish community (Zech. 13 
4-6. Ps. 749, 1 Mac. 446. 927, 1441). The earliest 
explicit allusion to the Prophets as a fixed coi-pus of 
writings is in the Prologue to the Greek Ben Sira 
(Ecclus.), already refencd to (130 B.C.). But we can 
prove the existence of such a collection a little further 
back. The author of Dan (c. 168 b.c.) speaks in 92 of 
" the Books " in a manner which shows that ho had 
before him a definite body of writings, in which was 
included tho Book of Jcr. Moreover the exclusion of 
Dan. itself from the Prophets is sufficient proof that 
that part of the Canon was closed before it was written. 
Again, Jesus ben Sira. the author of the Hebrew 
Ecclus. (c. 200-180 B.C.), cites in chs. 46-49 from all 
tho eight books of the prophetic Canon in tho order 
in V hich they stand in our Hebrew Bibles. From these 



facta we may conclude with great certainty that tho 
completion of the second division of the Canon dates 
from tho end of tho third or beginning of the second 
century B.C. The only prophetic book regarding 
which doubts are recorded in later times is Ezek., 
which is also the only one not quoted by Philo. But 
the Talmudic legend which professes to attest such 
doubts is, perhaps, to be considered rather as a vivid 
expression of tho difficulty of harmonising Ezekiel's 
legislation with the Mosaic Law than as evidence of a 
serious challenge to the canonicity of the book. 

3. The Hagiographa. — The third stratum of the 
Canon is composed of a heterogeneous group of writings 
whose canonical iKjsition was gradually established 
during the two centuries that followed the canonisation 
of the Prophets. Most of these were in existence at 
that time ; but since they possessed neither tho norma^ 
tive authority of the Law, nor the direct oracular 
inspiration of prophecy, they were not considered to 
have the same degree of sanctity as these other scrip- 
tures, or to form a closed collection. The Prologue to 
Ben Sira contains the first mention of this sub-canonical 
class of writings, but in terms which strongly suggest 
that its boundaries were still indefinite — " the others 
that followed upon them" (».e, upon the Prophets), 
" the other ancestral books," " tho rest of the books " — 
and which at any rate leave us in entire ignorance of 
its extent. We are equally in tho dark as to the subse- 
quent history of the collection, of the order in which 
different books were added to it, and of the time when 
it came to be regarded as closed against the admission 
of other writings. Wo know, indeed, that Philo (who 
never cites apocryphal works) quotes from aU the 
Kethubim except Dan., Ec., Ca., Ru., Lam., Est., and 
NT writers from all except Est., Ca., Ec. ; and hence 
we may conclude that at least all those cited by both 
were generally accepted as canonical in the first century 
of our era. We are, of course, not entitled to conclude 
from the silence of Philo or the NT that a particular 
book was uncanonical ; but since we know that the 
canonicity of Ec, Ca., and Est. was disputed at a 
still later time (see below), the fact that precisely these 
books are cited neither by Philo nor in the NT may 
signify that their canonical position was not yet 
universally recognised. On tho other hand, the evi- 
dence of 4 Esd. and Josephus (see above) shows that 
by the end of the first century a.d. the Canon in its 
present compa.ss was firmly established, at least in the 
Pharisaic circles of I'alestino. 

Official Determination of the Canon.— It is all the 
more surprising that at this very time the canonicity 
of certain books was a subject of acute controversy in 
the Jewish schools, and that doubts on this point were 
not silenced till well into tho second century. From 
tho classical passage in the Mishnic tract Ya(loim (35) 
we learn that as regards Ec. there was, about the time 
of Christ, a division between the schools of Hillel and 
Shammai, the former mamtainmg and the latter deny- 
ing tho canonicity of that book ; and also that a view 
adverse to Ca, was held by iiidividual Rabbis in tho 
oarly part of the second century. This state of affairs 
is intelligible only on one supposition, viz. that the 
question of canonicity had not been decided by formal 
decree in any authoritative assembly. All that had 
been attained was an informal consensus of opinion in 
favour of tho books finally reckoned as canonical ; an 
opinion, however, from which any corajxitont person 
might dis-sent if he saw reason. The only public 
decision of which we have uiformation is that of a 
great Synod held at Jamnia some time near the end 
of the first century ; and there the Canon was taken 



OANON AND TEXT OF THE OLD TESTAMENT 



39 



for granted, except as regards Ca. and Ec., whose 
claims were disputed. It was decreed that both " defile 
the hands," i.e. are canonical. That this decision was 
not universally respected appears from the vehement 
language of R. Aqiba at a later time (died a.d. 135), 
who declared that Ca. is the most sacred of all the 
Kethubim, and that its canonicity had never been 
questioned in Israel, although he admitted there might 
have been some difference as to Ec. Nevertheless the 
matter was really settled bj- the Council of Jamnia, 
whose decision was accepted as final by the authorities 
of the Mishna (c. a.d. 200). The only other book about 
which serious doubt seems to have been entertained is 
Est., which was pronounced apocryphal by distin- 
guished Rabbis of the second and third centuries. It 
does not appear either in the list of sacred books drawn 
up by Melito of Sardis (a.d. 170) on information derived 
from Jewish sources, or in certain forms of the Syrian 
Canon. All this, together with the silence of Philo and 
the NT, goes to show that though the book passed un- 
challenged at the Sjaiod of Jamnia, its canonicity was 
widely questioned even among Jews. By the end of 
the second century, all scruples were practically over- 
come ; and it is noteworthy that in the final result no 
book was rejected for which a place had once been 
claimed among the Kethubim. 

The Apocrypha. — There was, however, a class of 
books which the Jews of Palestine had never thought 
of canonising, but whose canonicity was destined to 
become a controversial issue in the Christian Church. 
The source of this controversy lies in the fact that 
the LXX, which was the first Bible of the Christians, 
not only differs entirely from the Hebrew in the arrange- 
ment of the books, but contains a number of writings 
which are not in the Hebrew Canon at all. The number 
of such writings varies in different Greek MSS, and 
only a selection of them was received into the Vulgate, 
while a somewhat different selection is given in the 
Apocrypha of the English versions. Still, speaking 
broadly, it may be said that the books now called 
apocryphal represent the excess of the LXX over the 
Hebrew Canon ; and the question arises whether there 
was a real divergence of opinion between the Palestinian 
and Alexandrian Jews as to the canonicity of these 
books. It has been supposed by some that the facts 
prove the existence of an Alexandrian Canon differing 
from that of Palestine ; and by others that at one time 
(say before a.d. 70) the limits of canonicity were more 
widely drawn than was eventually allowed by the narrow 
doctnne of the Pharisaic schools. The question is not 
free from difficulty. \Mien we find a typical Alex- 
andrian like Philo combining a broad view of inspira- 
tion with a strict adherence in practice to the Canon 
of Palestine, and a disciple of the Pharisees like Josephus 
combining a free use of the Apocrypha with an asser- 
tion of the exclusive inspiration of the Palestinian 
Canon, wo can hardly believe that the Alexandrian Jews 
maintained a theory of canonicity opposed to that of 
their brethren in Palestine. The truth appears to be 
that their use of religious literature was not regulated 
by any rigid notions of canonicity, that their laxity in 
this respect was reflected in the MSS of the LXX, and 
thus led eventually to the canonisation of certain extra- 
canonical books by the Christian Church. At the same 
time there was in Christendom a consciousness that 
these books were not on the same level of authority 
aa those accepted by the Jews ; and even in the 
Western Church this feeling, reinforced by the great 
influence of Jerome, persisted more or less till the 
Council of Trent, when it was decided that all the books 
contained in the Vulgate are in the full sense canonical. 



The Protestant churchas fell back on the position of 
•Jerome, that the books not included in the Hebrew 
Bible were to be classed as apocryphal, although in 
some cases their use was allowed " for example of life 
and instruction of manners." 

The Jewish Notion of Canonicity. — This brings us to 
consider in the last place the ideas of canonicity which 
ruled the decisions of the Jewish authorities regarding 
the inspiration of particular books. The two expres- 
sions used to distinguish between canonical and un- 
canonical scriptures throw no light on this question, 
but are in themselves interesting. The first describes 
a canonical book as one that " defiles the hands," which 
means that it is such that contact with it requires a 
ceremonial washing of the hands before touching any 
other object ; the sacred character of the Scriptures 
being thus emphasized. The other expression is the 
verb ganaz ("withdraw"' or "conceal"), which waa 
applied to the act of excluding a book from the Canon — 
an act, by the way, never (save in one late passage) 
reported as having been actually accomplished, but 
only as having been proposed and overruled. Since 
the participle genuzim agrees partially in sense with 
the Greek apokryplm, it is tempting to infer that the 
two terms are equivalent ; and this appears to be 
substantially correct, although the Hebrew word 
actually used for the Apocrypha is not genuzim but 
hizonim (" outside " books). There is, at all events 
nothmg to support the opinion of those scholars who 
hold that ganaz only means to withdraw a book from 
public reading without prejudice to its canonical char- 
acter. But neither the one expression nor the other 
throws any light on the principles by which the scribes 
decided whether a book properly belonged to the sacred 
collection or not. These, as might be expected, were 
of a purely formal and external kind. The funda- 
mental criterion of canonicity waa coriformiiy to the 
Law. No book was sacred which did not agree with 
the teaching of the Law, which was always regarded 
as having a fuller inspiration than other books, and aa 
furnishing the standard by which they were to be 
tested. But a test like this was obviously capable of 
very arbitrary application ; as we may see from the 
fact that it retained such a book as Ec, while excluding 
Ecclus. Accordingly we must find some other prin- 
ciple, more influential in practice ; and we find it in 
the idea of a time limit to the succession of prophets 
inspired of God to write the record of revelation. This 
principle is distinctly enunciated by Josephus in his 
treatise against Apion ; and although we have no 
account of its actual application to the case of any 
disputed book, we know that it was a prevalent view 
of the later Jews, and can trace its application in the 
result. According to this theory the period of revela- 
tion extended from Moses to the reign of Artaxerxea 
(Longimanus), who was identified with the Ahasuerua 
of the Book of Est., which was thus supposed to be the 
latest canonical writing. Only those books, therefore, 
were retained in the Canon which were believed to 
have been written before that date ; while those which 
(like Ecclus.) were ostensibly of later authorship were, 
by that very fact, excluded. If we add as a third 
condition that a sacred book must be written in Hebrew, 
wo have a set of rules which, though not quite ex- 
haustive of the considerations urged for or against all 
contested books, nevertheless sufficiently account for 
the rigid and mechanical division established in Pales- 
tine between canonical and apocryphal writings. 

It ia manifest that a Canon delil>erately constructed 
on those lines would have no valid authority for the 
Christian Church. We believe that the Jews were 



40 



CANON AND TEXT OF THE OLD TESTAMENT 



wrong in thoir views of tho date and autliorship of the 
books of the OT, wrong in thoir doctrine of a ti?no-limit 
to inspiration, and wrong in thi'ir oxaijgorated esti- 
mate of the Law as compared with the Prophets and 
the Psalms. But we niiLst remember that, aft<T all, 
scholastic definitions played a very insignificant part 
in the actual formation of the OT Canon. It was only 
in the case of a few disputed and comparatively unim- 
portant books that tho theories of the scribes had to 
bo appealed to, and then only to deal with theoretical 
objections which were in every instance overruled. 
For the great mass of the OT Scriptures, tho real 
sanction lies in the witness borne to their inspiration 
by the experience of devout minds in Israel, whoso 
spiritual insight had discerned their unique value for 
the nourishment of the religious life of fellowship with 
God, and thus gradually gathered them into a collec- 
tion of sacred writings. Our acceptance of the OT 
Canon rests on the conviction that t lie spiritual process 
which led to its formation was tho result of a true 
revelation of God in the history of Israel, and of an 
insight into the meaning of that revelation in which wo 
recognise the illumination of that Spirit which guides 
into all truth. And when we find that tho books 
whose canonical position was established only by tho 
methods of Pharisaic casuistry are precisely those 
whose religious value is least, and which are never 
quoted by our Lord or His disciples, the obvious lesson 
is that tho inspiration of an OT book is not guaranteed 
by its place in an arbitrarily defined Canon, but by its 
vital relation to the essence of the ancient dispensation, 
and the degree in which it commended itself to the 
reverence and piety of the community entrusted with 
the oracles of God. 

II. THE TEXT. — The long and complicated history 
of the OT toxt may be conveniently divided into three 
main periods : I. From the time when the books were 
written to the final determination of the Canon in the 
second century. II. From that time to the flourishmg 
age of the Jewish Massora (sixth to tenth century). 
III. From the Massoretic age to the present day. 
This represents the two most important junctures in 
the transmission of the text. In the second century 
the fixing of the Canon was accompanied by a revision 
of its text, and followed by a resolute and remarkably 
successful effort to establish this revised text as the 
standard recension of the Hebrew Bible. And the 
activity of the Massoretes marks tho culmination of 
this sustained effort in the reduction of the entire MS 
tradition to a uniform type. To them also we owe 
tho important innovation of the use of vocalic and 
accentual signs ; and the astonishing similarity which 
now prevails in all editions and extant MSB of the 
Hebrew OT is very largely the result of their inde- 
fatigable labours. 

The investigation of this history is the foundation of 
all scientific criticism of the OT toxt. The aim of 
textual criticism being to recover as nearly as ]X)ssiblo 
the exact form in which a book left the hand of its 
author, it is obvious that tho further back we can 
trace the toxt of any writing the nearer wo shall be to 
tho attainment of that object. It is tnie that in the 
case of OT books we never come within measurable 
distance of the original autographs ; but still we are 
able, by tho methods to Ik? indicated in this article, to 
eliminate a great many sources of error which have 
affected MSS at different stages in the transmission of 
tho text. 

Tho materiald for this investigation fall broadly into 
three classes : ( 1 ) MSS and editions of tho Hebrew text 
itself : these, oi course, haT<» descended by successive 



transcriptions from tho autograph copies of the various 
writings. But the existing Hebrew MSS are all of 
comparativi'ly recent date ; atul besides, they present 
so little variation that from them alone wo could hardly 
form any conclusions as to tho previous development 
of the text. (2) MSS and editions of a large number 
of translations made at different times, either directly 
from tho Hebrew (primarj' versions) or from some 
earlier translation (" daughter versions "). It will be 
readily understood that a version has critical value 
only in so far as it funii.shes independent evidence of 
tho existence of a characteristic form of text at the 
time when it was made. If (as is the case with the 
p]nglish versions) we have access to the original Hebrew 
on which they are known to have been based, we learn 
nothing from the version in question except the com- 
petonco or otherwise of the translators. But in the 
case of the older versions, which originated long before 
any known MS was written, we do not know before- 
hand what their basis was, and can ascertain it only by 
the delicate process of retranslation into Hebrew. This 
operation, if it can be satisfactorily performed, will 
obviously give us the text of one or more Hebrew MSS 
contemporarj' with tho date of translation ; and by 
comparing this with our present Hebrew text wo may 
obtain valuable light on the condition of the Hebrew 
text at a particular stage of its history. (3) Quotations 
and allusions by writers of known date, from which we 
can discover what readings were found in eontemjwrary 
MSS of the Hebrew Bible or of the version which they 
used. Alongside of these we may place the mass of 
observations on the Hebrew text which constitute the 
staple of the Jewish Massora (see below). 

From this very inadequate account of the apparatus 
and tho essential processes of textual criticism as 
applied to the OT, we pass to an equally slight sketch 
of the leading results that can lie established, following 
the threefold division given at the outset. 

I. The first period may be characterised as the age 
of divided text. Here tho chief witnesses are (a) the 
Samaritan Pentateuch, and (b) the LXX. (a) The 
former is a recension in tho Hebrew language, but in 
Samaritan script of the Pentateuch which the Samari- 
tans borrowed from the Jews about 330 B.C., and 
which is now represented by MSS. dating from the 
twelfth century and downwards. That some inten- 
tional changes were introduced by the Samaritans is 
quite certain ; but the basis of the t«xt must l)e that 
of Jewish MSS of that early time, ^^^len wo compare 
it with the present Hebrew text we find a very close 
similarity, but along with differences which cannot all 
bo dismissed as errors on the side of the Sam. It 
contains readings which by their intrmsic superiority 
commend themselves as nearer the original than the 
MT ; although in the majority of instances where the 
two diverge, the original toxt is best prosors'od in the 
Jewish recension ; and in certain passages both «re 
manifestly comipt. We thus see that even so early 
as the fourth century B.C. the text of the Pentateuch 
had already undergone a certain amount of deteriora- 
tion, and that the MSS. of the period did not present 
tho uniformity which marks the later stages of trans- 
mission, (h) These conclusions are confirmed, but in 
a much more emphatic manner, for a somewhat later 
time, by tho LXX. the Gi-eek translation of tho OT. 
Strictly speaking, tho name LXX applies only to tho 
translation of the Iaw, which was traditionally ascribed 
to seventy or seventy-two scholars working imder the 
patronage of Ptolemy Philadelphus at Alexandria in 
the first half of the third century b.c. There is no 
reason to doubt the authenticity of the tradition so fax 



CANON AND TEXT OF THE OLD TESTAMENT 



as regards the place and date of the translation of the 
Pentateuch : the remaining books were translated at 
various unknown periods during the next century and 
a half. The recovery of the original Greek text of 
the LXX, and still more of the Hebrew that lies behind 
it, is amongst the most difficult processes of textual 
criticism ; but enough is known to make it certain 
that the Hebrew MSS then in circulation presented a 
variety which is in striking contrast to the monotonous 
uniformity of the post-Massorctic age, and that the 
better (and therefore more original) text is sometimes 
that which is preserved in the Greek translation, but 
more frequently in that which is the parent of the 
present Hebrew text. We have thus, in the case of 
the Pentateuch, evidence of the existence of three 
recensions (represented respectively by the MT, the 
Sam., and the LXX) of the Hebrew in the fourth and 
third centuries, b.c. ; and the relations of these three 
to one another is a problem of which a complete 
solution has not yet been worked out. In the other 
books we have proof always of two recensions (MT 
and LXX), sometimes of more ; for in some cases the 
MSS of the LXX seem to combine difierent translations 
from the original Hebrew. But the natural conclusion 
is that the survival of only two or three types of text 
is an accident ; and that rf we could survey the whole 
MS. material of that remote age we should find a 
diversity which fully justifies the description of the 
period as a period of divided text. In explanation of 
the laxity of transcription which all this implies, we 
have to note in the first place, that the translation of 
many of the later books into Greek took place in all 
probability before they were received into the Canon, 
and therefore before they were guarded by official 
supervision against irresponsible changes of text. In 
the next place, that verbal inspiration or textual in- 
violability was not considered a note of canonicity till 
a later time, so that even a canonical book might be 
subjected to deliberate revision in detail. Thirdly, 
that canonisation, being merely a judgment as to the 
religious value or sacred character of a book, did not 
discriminate between one form of its text and another, 
so that the copy adopted for the standard recension 
might not present the best form of text as judged by 
critical principles. Lastly, while we may assume that 
from the first care was taken to preserve the text of a 
book once admitted to the Canon (and especiall}' of the 
Law), we must recognise that no official censorship 
could secure perfect immunity from error on the part 
of copyists. The result is. as we might expect, that 
on the whole, the official recension from which our MT 
has descended was nearer the original than any that 
can be recovered from the versions (p. 125) ; yet it con- 
tained many defects, and can frequently be corrected and 
improved by the help of the variant readings attested 
by those versions. Towards the close of this period 
we find evidence of the increasing homogeneity of the 
Hebrew text in the Old Syriac version, called the 
Peshitta. The exact date at which it was made is not 
known, nor is it certaui how far it was prepared under 
Christian and how far under Jewish auspices ; but it 
seems clear that it was based on Hebrew MSS some- 
what^jldcr than the standard text of the second century. 
At all events it is a version made directly from the 
Hebrew (although revised with the help of the LXX) ; 
and examination appears to show that its Hebrew 
basis, while not absolutely identical with the MT, 
nevertheless resembled it verj- closely. Wo may infer 
that the textual confusion of aH earlier time was passing 
away through the disappt^aranco of unofficial MSS., 
and that the solidarity which was stereotyped in the 



41 



century had practically been brought about by 
the sole survival of the authorised Palestinian recension. 
II. The second period is introduced by the fixation 
of a standard text which has maintained itself with 
little variation till the present time. The princij)le of 
textual inviolability which was the necessary pre- 
supposition of the exegetical methods of the school of 
Hillel, and was already acknowledged in the time of 
Christ (Mt. 5i8), was now deliberately adopted and 
carried out to its practical consequences. The precise 
manner in which this was done will never bo known ; 
but there is no reasonable doubt that in the main it 
was the work of R. Aqiba (died a.d. 135) and his 
compeers in the early part of the century. Certain 
idios5Ticrasies of the received text and one or two 
legends relating to the time go to show that the attempt 
was made to conform the text to a particular Codex 
or Archetype, which was known to be imperfect but 
which, for some reason, was regarded with peculiar 
veneration ; but how far the existing text is a slavish 
reproduction of that single MS is a question still un- 
settled. The first piece of evidence for the authority 
of the new recension is the Greek version of Aquila 
(said to have been a pupil of Aqiba), an almost mechani- 
cally Literal expression of the Hebrew which was meant 
to supersede the LXX in the use of Greek-speaking 
Jews. It has survived only in a few sUght fragments 
and in citations by the Fathers and on the margins of 
MSS ; but from these it is sufficiently clear that its 
Hebrew original was virtually our present MT. The 
nearly contemporary Greek versions of Theodotion 
and Symmachus may here be mentioned as less drastic 
efforts to mediate between the Hebrew verity and the 
popular but now discredited LXX. In the history of 
the LXX itself the early part of the period before us 
witnessed several eventful developments. A number 
of secondary versions in various dialects — chief among 
them the Old Latin, from about a.d. 200 — appeared, 
from which we obtain valuable light on the condition 
of the contemporary Greek text. Before the third 
century that text was in such confusion that three 
scholars, Origen, Lucian, and Hesychius, were moved 
independently to produce critical recensions for the 
use of Christians ; the most famous being the Hexapla 
of Origen, which was accepted in the time of Jerome 
as the standard edition of the LXX. The influence of 
these recensions, and particularly of the Hexapla. on the 
current LXX text has been all-pervading, and seriously 
complicates the problem of recovering the original text 
of the Greek translation. In the fourth century we 
come to the earliest direct witnesses to the OT text 
in the oldest MSS of the LXX, which, of course, tell 
us nothing of the Hebrew text of the time, but only 
reveal a stage in the history of the Greek version. For 
the Hebrew text we have the important Latin transla- 
tion of the Vulgate, prepared by Jerome in the end of 
the fourth and beginning of the fifth centuries. It was 
made directly from the Hebrew, and ultimately super- 
seded the Old Latin in the Western Church. It repre- 
sents a Hebrew original varying but little from the 
MT ; and is of great use for determining the minor 
divergences which were found within the range of the 
standard recension about 250 years after its formation. 
From Jewish tradition we have for this period the 
evidence of tho Targuras — Aramaic translations of the 
OT for use in the synagogues — and the numerous 
citations in the Talmud and the Rabbinical literature 
generally. All those toll tlio same tale of a dominant 
standaid text, with slight variations, which maj' partly 
go back to pre-Christian times. A comparison of tho 
Babbinical quotations with the Targums and the older 

2a 



42 



CANON AND TEXT OF THE OLD TESTAMENT 



versions seems to show that ancient readings which 
have since been eliminated from the MS tradition 
were still in currency in influential MSS of the Tal- 
mudic ago. 

During all this time the scribes were gradually per- 
fecting tlieir organisation, and securing a firmer control 
of the traditional text. A few intentional but trivial 
manipulations of the consonantal text {Tiqqwne 
Soplierim) with which they are credited must belong 
to a very early age, before the consonantal text had 
acquired the sanctity which caused its very mi.stakea 
to be respected. At a later time they contented them- 
selves with indicating by critical marks {punda extra- 
ordinaria, etc.) readings which were defective or doubt- 
ful ; and still later with sx)ccifyiug the " reading " 
{Qere) to bo followed in the synagogue, while the 
"written" text {Kethib) was left inviolate. Lists of 
those and many other peculiarities of the sacred text 
were accumulated and handed down by rote ; strict 
ceremonial rules were imposed on the copyists of 
biblical MSS ; standard codices were edited by which 
the correctness of any MS was to bo tested ; and 
everj'thing that human ingenuity could suggest was 
done to bring about complete uniformity in the MS 
text. This culminated in the work of tho Maasorctic 
schools, which marks tho transition to the final phase 
of tho Hebrew text. 

III. The word Massora (p. 36) meant at first simply 
"tradition" in general, but in technical usage it came to 
bo restricted to that branch of tradition which concerned 
itself with maintaining tho purity of the sacred text : 
the Massoretes were the successors of the Sopherim or 
scribes. Tlie history of the movement is still in many 
points obscure ; and it is impossible here to give any 
adequate account of its character. It flourished both 
in Babylonia and in Palestine (Tiberias) in the cen- 
turies that followed tho completion of the Talmud ; 
and its most noteworthy achiovcmont was tho gradual 
elaboration (during the seventh and following centuries) 
of a system of vowel notation, which was cari-icd on 
simultaneously in these two centres of Jewish learning. 
The Babylonian schools seem to have lieen eclipsed by 
that of Tiberias ; and accordingly tho Tiberian punctua- 
tion so completely displaced tho rival systems of 
Babylonia that until the important discoveries of MSS 
within the last eighty years all knowledge of the latter 
was lost in Europe. Tho two great luminaries of tho 
.school of Tiberias in tho tenth century were Ben Asher 
and Bon Naphtali, each of whom produced a standard 
codex of the OT, with vowels and accents on the 
Tiberian system, with minute differences m punctua- 
tion, but practically none in tho consonantal text. Tho 
text followed in Western MSS and all printed editions 
is in the main that of Ben Asher, although several 
readings of his rival Ben Naphtali are incorporated in 
the received text. For tho rest tho Massora consists, 
as has been said, of an immense congeries of observa- 
tions on i)eeuliarities of tho Hebrew text, the aim being 
to provide an apj)aratus by which the smallest devia- 
tion from the authoritative text could be avoided or 
instantly detected in the production of now copies. 
At first these lists and notices were conmiitted to 
memoi^ ; but gradually tho practice was introduced 
of writmg them, partly on the margins (or Ijctween the 
lines) and at the end of codice.5, and partly in separate 
works. 

It is only from the tenth centuiy downwarrls that we 
are able to trace the Hebrew text in extant MSS. Tho 
oldest certainly dated MS is a Babylonian codex of 
the Latter Prophets now in St. Petersburg, which bears 
tho dato 916. There arc one or two which may prove 



to bo as much as a century older ; and thoro are many 
bearing early dates the genuineness of whose epigraphs 
is strongly suspected : among them tho first copy of 
the entire OT, which professes to bo a transcript of the 
lost codox of Ben Asher, and to have been written 
A.p. 1008-10. The majority of the MSS. belong to the 
thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries. Tho 
invention of printing in tho fifteenth century was 
quickly taken advantage of by tho Jews for the propa- 
gation of their scriptures, the first complete edition 
of tho OT being published at Soncino in 1488. Tho 
earliest printed editions were largely based on MSS 
now lost; and their influence — notably that of the 
great Rabbinical Bible of Jacob ben Hayjam (1524-25) 
and the Complutensian Polyglott (1514-17) — has pro- 
foundly affected all subsequent editions, and has con- 
tributed materially to the uniformity of the present 
textus receptus. 

It is evident from this imperfect sketch of the history 
of the text that no existing document or known re- 
cension can claim to represent the text of the OT in 
its original form. The alterations that have crept in 
during the course of transmission may be classed under 
two heads: inadvertent and intentional. (1) To the 
class of inadvertent changes belong (a) all errors of 
transcription, such as confusion of letters similar in 
form Of (when written to dictation) in sound ; accidental 
omission or transposition of consonants ; repetition of 
a word or group of letters akeady written (dittography ) ; 
longer omissions caused by the identical ending of two 
sentences (homoioteleuton) and the slipping of the 
scribes eye from the one he had just copied to tho 
other, {b) Errors of memory are sometimes respon- 
sible for the substitution of a sj-nonj'm for the original 
expression (like " say " for " speak "), or the addition 
of a familiar phrase or epithet (as in " ark [of the 
covenant] "), or the alteration or amplification of tho 
text in accordance with some well-known parallel 
passage, (c) Errors of understanding are seen chiefly 
in mistaken division of words and sentences, in mis- 
interpretation of abbreviations, and in incorporation 
of marginal glosses in the text. In the last two classes 
of error, however, it is impossible to draw the lino 
between unconscious and deliberate manipulation of 
the text. (2) Conscious alterations of the text 
naturally occurred most frequently in the early stages 
of transmission, and cannot always bo distinguished 
from the processes of redaction in which many of the 
OT books had their origin ; but that post-redactionai 
additions and corrections aro actually found in the text 
is shown in some cases by a comparison of the different 
versions and in other cases is probable from internal 
indications. A common form of expansion is the 
introduction of explanatory' glosses giving the accepted 
interpretation of a difficult or ambiguous expression 
in tho authentic text (see Is. 3ib), or enhancing the 
accuracy of a prediction by a reference to its supjxisod 
fulfilment (Is. Isb). Systematic correction of tho text 
occurs most frequently under the influence of dogmatic 
or a-sthotic tendencies (r/. the regular sub.stitutioii in 
tho books of Samuel of basheih, " shame," for Baal in 
the names Ishbosheth. Mephibosheth. with the original 
names in Ch.) ; but occasionally under the impression 
that the traditional reading is wrong (thus in Gen. 22* 
" seventh " in tho Hob. is deliberately changed to 
"sixth" in Sam., LXX, and Syr.). It may be noted that 
certain changes of this kind were introduced in tho 
synagogue reading {Qcre) wliile the written text was 
left untouched ; and on the other hand that Jewish 
tradition preserved a knowledge of tho fact that at 
an earlier period they were made in the consonantal 



CANON AND TEXT OF THE OLD TESTAMENT 



43 



text {Tiqqnne Sopherim, above). In the detection of 
both the above classes of alterations the versions often 
render important service. If two textual witnesses 
show a difference in the Hebrew original which can 
be naturally traced to any of the causes just enumerated 
the divergence is at once explained, and it will generally 
be clear on which side the mistake lies and whicli is 
the true reading. Or the mere omission in one text 
of a passage found in the other, but unnecessary in 
its context, may be a sufficient reason for doubting 
its genuineness. Again, interpolation may reasonably 
be suspected when a passage occurs in two texts but 
at different places {e.g. 1 S. 2i-io is inserted by the 
LXX in the middle of I28 of the Heb.) : the probable 
explanation being that it originally stood in the margin 
of some MSS and was taken into the text at the wrong 
place. But the sources of error here mentioned may 
often lead on internal grounds to an emendation even 
where all textual witnesses support the doubtful 
reading. 

In conclusion, the broad results of textual criticism 
as applied to the OT writings may be briefly summed 
up as follows : (1) It should be clearly understood 
that all witnesses to the text exhibit a fundamental 
agreement. An extreme case of divergence is the 
difference between the MT and the LXX in the Book 
of Jeremiah ; but even here it is reckoned that the 
element common to the two recensions amounts to 
about seven-eighths of the whole. The normal rela- 
tion of the LXX to the MT is such that in the 
majority of books the differences are mostly differ- 
ences of detail, which leave the broad features of 
the text, the characteristics of the style, and the 
essential meaning of the writers almost unaffected. 
(2) Of all accessible forms of the text the MT is 
on the whole the most reliable, and the most faithful 
to what must have been the Hebrew original. That 
it often misrepresents the original, that it stands in 
need of criticism and correction, and that in innumer- 
able instances it can be corrected by the help of 
the versions and especially of the LXX, are facts 



which cannot be too strongly emphasized. But it 
remains true that the MT has preserved better than 
any other the characteristics and phraseology of the 
original documents, and is the only secure foundation 
for a critical reconstruction of the OT text. (3) The 
MT, even when corrected by the help of the versions 
and all other external aids, frequently yields a text 
which carmot possilily be original. In a considerable 
number of passages which are unintelligible on account 
of textual corruption, the corruption is either shared 
by all the versions, or is replaced by something equall}'- 
or more unintelligible. This means, of course, that 
the text contains defects which are of older standing 
than the date of any vcreion. On these we have no 
sort of external check except in the few cases where a 
passage is repeated within the OT itself (parallel pas- 
sages in S.-K. and Ch. ; 2 S. 22 = Ps. 18 ; 2 K. I813- 
2O19 = Is. 36-39 ; Is. 22-5 - Mi. 4i-5 ; etc.). To bridge 
the gulf that separates the original autographs from 
the oldest externally authenticated text we have, as a 
rule, no resource but the precarious method of con- 
jectural emendation, which has undoubtedly a wider 
scope than is permissible in the case of the NT. But 
arbitrary and unmethodical conjecture is as little 
legitimate in OT as in NT criticism. Conjecture is 
not to be resorted to unless all available documentary 
evidence fails to yield a satisfactory result ; and no 
emendation of this kind can command confidence unless 
it gives a reading from which the actual Hebrew, as 
well as the versional variants, can be derived in 
accordance with the ascertained tendencies to change 
and error to which editors and copyists were subject 
in ancient times. 

Literature.— Ryle, The Canon of the OT ; W. R. 
Smith, The OT in the Jewish Church^; Wildeboer, 
The Origin of the Canon of the OT ; Buhl, Canon 
and Text of the OT ; Kenyon, Our Bible and the 
Ancient Manuscripts ; Weir, A Sh<yrt History of 
the Hebreio Text of the OT ; Geden, Outlines of In- 
troduction to the Hebrew Bible ; articles in EB, EBi., 
HDB, HSDB. 



THE DEVELOPMENT OF OLD TESTAMENT 
LITERATURE / 



By the editor 



This article provides a bare skeleton of the literary 
development, and should be supplemented at every 
point by the introductions to individual books and 
groups of books. A description of the various literary 
types in the OT is given in the article on " The Bible 
as Literature."' 

Here as elsewhere Uterature is the expression of life, 
and to understand it we must view it as the outcome 
of experience, both collective and individual. A 
history of Heb. literature cannot indeed bo written. 
since materials are wanting. What is left to us in 
the OT is but the remains of a much larger literature 
now lost, it is to be feared, irretrievably (p. 18). Not 
larger only, but also much more varied ; for reduced 
as it was by neglect and by the catastrophes through 
which the nation passed, it was restricted still further 
by the reUgious interest which guided the preservation 
of what still remains (p. 40). 

The origins unhappily are lost in obscurity. Tradi- 
tion credits Moses alike with the creation of the 
nation and the origination of its literature. To him 
belongs, it is true, the imperishable glory of creating 
a national consciousness which fused the emancipated 
Hebrew slaves into a people proudly aware of itsolf 
as the chosen of Yahweh. But the claim that he 
created not simply the nation and its religion, but also 
its earliest literature, is far more dubious. We can 
no longer regard him as the author of the Pentateuch 
(pp. 121-124). This rejection of an ancient tradition is 
due to no doubt whether Moses could write, but to 
the actual phenomena of the Pentateuch, which are 
irreconcilable with his authorship. Different scripts 
had long been practised, books and documents had 
long been familiar, and centuries before his time 
Hammurabi had promulgated his famous code (pp. 51, 
130). Comparison reveals a close parallelism with the 
Book of the Covenant (Ex. 2O22-2333), which shows 
that Israel was profoundly indebted for its social law 
to earlier civili.sation. as we knew that it was indebted 
for rehgiouB instit ut i. >ii«. Moses therefore had material 
from which he might have drawn up legislation. Yet 
we cannot identify any composition of Moses in the 
Pentateuch. Probably both the Decalogue and the 
Book of the Covenant incorporate Mosaic legislation. 
But we can feel no confidence that these principles 
and precepts received literary form in the wilderness. 
The Book of the Covenant, which with Ex. 3414-26 
constitutes the earliest stratum of legislation, pre- 
supposes a people settled in Canaan and practising 
agriculture. Even the Decalogue in what would 
presumably bo its original form — ten short command- 
ments of the type still preserved in the first, sixth, 
seventh, eighth, and ninth, without expansion or 
explanation — apparently contains post-Mosaic ele- 
ments (p. 184). Such a snatch of song as Ex. 15i may 



well go back to Moses, though the poem which follows 
is later than his time. 

Analogy suggests that poetical utterances of this kind 
constituted the beginning of Heb. literature. Some 
of these may have had a still earlier origin, and re- 
ferred to more ancient, perhaps prehistoric, peoples. 
The Song of Lamech, the curse on Canaan, the blessing 
of Shem and Japhet, may be earher than Moses ; the 
song of the well (Nu. 21i7f.), and possibly, though less 
probably, the sarcastic verses on Sihon (21 27-30), no 
later than his time. After the contjuest we have similar 
utterances, such as Joshua's apostrophe to the sun 
and moon (Jos. lOizf.). The stnam begins to flow 
with greater fulness in the time of the Judges. The 
Song of Deborah ( Jg. 5) is our finest example ; but more 
poems of the type no doubt existed, for others also 
were wont to rehearse Yahweh's mighty acts. In its 
present form the Blessing of Jacob (Gen.' 49*) is hardly 
earher than the reign of David, but the tribal delinea- 
tions in it seem in some instances to be older than the 
monarchy, lo the same period belong the riddle of 
Samson (Jg. 14i4) and his boast over his triumph at 
Lehi ( 15i6). Our first specimen of another type meets 
us in the fable of Jotham (Jg. 98-15 ; r/. 2 K. I49). 
From the time of Saul we have the couplet which 
roused his jealousy over David's exploits (1 S. I87). 
The lament on Saul and Jonathan (2 S. 1 19-27) and 
the elegy on Abncr (333f.) are the only compositions 
of David to the authenticity of which no reasonable 
doubt attaches. Tradition assigns to him a large 
number of Pss. This question is dealt with elsewhere 
(pp. 367f.) ; here a few words must suffice. It is not 
unlikely that, with his tine poetical genius and his 
zeal for the service of Yahweh, David praised Him 
not on his harp only, but with his pen. But this 
carries us a very httlo way towards the position that 
any poems of his are preserved in the Psalter. The 
late date at which the book was compiled , the origin 
of even the earliest collections in it after the Exile ; 
the composition of the great majority of Pss. in the 
Persian or Greek periods ; the advanced sta<ro of re- 
ligious reflection which they represent, and their de- 
veloped religious feeling, combine to make it im- 
probable that more than a very few Davidic Pss. 
can have survived, and. indeed, to render the presence 
of any in our Psalter very questionable. Nor, admit- 
ting that some have been included, have we any rehable 
criteria for determining which these are. 

With the reign of Solomon a new era opens in the 
development of Israel. Up to this time there had been 
all too little of that settled peace which should give 
culture its opportunity. The disintegration of the 
nation, it-s hard struggle to maintain its hold on Canaan, 
the wars with surrounding peoples, and above all with 
the Philistines, civil strife again and again renewed. 



THE DEVELOPMENT OF OLD TESTAMENT LITERATURE 



45 



combined to keep the Hebrews physically fit but 
intellectually backward. David had given them rest 
from their enemies, and Solomons reign was one of 
peace. The older fonns of literature continued to be 
cultivated, but there were new and far-reaching de- 
velopments. There is probably some basis for the 
tradition which ascribes many proverbs and songs to 
Solomon, and sayings concerning plants and animals. 
Possibly some of his aphorisms may be found in the 
Book of Proverbs (p. 397). The oracles of Balaam 
(Nu. 23f.) in their earhest form may belong to this 
period. We may plausibly assign to it also the collec- 
tion of Heb. poetry known as the Book of Jashar, which 
seems to have contained Solomon's striking saying, 
recovered from the LXX (p. 298), at the dedication of 
the Temple, together with Jos. 10i2f. and 2 S. 1 19-27. 
A similar collection may have been " The Book of the 
Wars of Yahweh" (Nu. 21 14*), but we have no evidence 
as to its date. 

Solomon's reign, however, is specially notable as 
that in which historical Uterature probably took its 
rise. Great historical events, stories as to popular 
heroes and thrilling exploits, cuculated no doubt long 
before on the hps of the people. But their reduction 
to writing had probably not taken place up to this 
time. And when history began to be written, it was, 
we may surmise, the story of the immediate past. 
The story of Davids court (2 S. 9-20, with 1 K. If.) 
exhibits such intimate knowledge of the circimistances 
that it is generally attributed to a contemporary — 
possibly, as Duhm suggests, Abiathar. This may- 
have given the impulse to record the earlier history. 
The story of Samuel, Saul, and David, which we find 
in the most ancient strata of 1 S. 1-2 S. 8, was, it may 
be, the first to be written. The oldest records of the 
conquest and the Judges may have been next col- 
lected, and not so much later would come the Penta- 
teuchal document J in its primitive form, written 
in Judah. The parallel document E wa.? written in 
the Northern Kingdom probably before the middle of 
the eighth century. E includes the Book of the 
Covenant, and J the briefer legislation (Ex. 34io-26). 
In the historical books we find a combination of story 
and of annals. As is natural, we scarcely meet with 
the latter before the reign of Solomon, though we have 
some examples from the reign of David. With the 
establishment of an Oriental despotism in Israel the 
court chronicler began to play a prominent part. 
Although the extracts from the State annals are much 
less fascinating than the popular stories, a more liberal 
use of them in our historical books would have supplied 
the historian with invaluable information. The lead- 
ing sanctuaries no doubt also had their chroniclers, and 
we have important material from them as to events 
connected with the Temple. Fortunately the official 
did not stifle the popular element, and even the Book 
of Kings is redeemed from being a collection of official 
records by the prophetic and other stories, notably 
those of Elijah and Elisha. 

So far as we know, Ehjah and Elisha committed 
nothing to writing. Indeed we can hardly think of 
them as uttering sustained addresses ; their recorded 
words are brief and weight}'. But in the middle of 
the eighth century, when Assyria was about to inter- 
vene once more in the politics of Palestine, the era 
of the Uterary prophets opens. Within a brief period 
Amos and Hosea laboured in the Northern Kingdom, 
Isaiah and Micah in the Southern. Prophecy still 
remains primarily oral. It is by direct speech to them 
that the prophet seeks to influence his people. But 
if the prophet is silenced, as Amos, if met with in- 



creduUty, as Isaiah, he might commit to writing what 
he was not permitted to utter, or record for future 
vindication the word at present scouted by increduhty. 
Jeremiah had been preacliing long years before his 
oracles were collected by himself and read to the 
pubhc. Whatever may have been the impulse which 
led to the record being made, we have gained im- 
measurably by it ; for it is in the prophetic writings 
more than anyTvhere else that we find the inmost 
secret of Israel's rehgion. Prophecy was, of course, 
largely influenced by the poUtical situation. It is 
when some great work of Yahweh is on the eve of 
being accompUshed that the sensitive instinct of the 
prophet divines and foretells the approaching judgment. 
Hence the great prophets of the eighth centurj' begin 
their work when the As.syrian peril is about to re- 
appear. But it would invert the true relation to 
suppose that they first became aware of the approach- 
ing storm and then cast about to find a reason. Rather 
they started from the conviction of Yahweh's righteous- 
ness and a consciovisness of His people's sin, deduced 
from this that judgment was inevitable, and read the 
political situation in the hght of this moral certainty. 
The Northern Kingdom fell, and the essential Israel 
was concentrated in Judah. Some precious fragment-s 
of the Northern Uterature survived the catastrophe, 
notably the Hexateuchal document E and the pro- 
phecies of Hosea, and no doubt several narratives in 
the historical books, especially the histories of Ehjah 
and EUsha. With the death of Isaiah prophecy 
became dumb for a season. In the fanatical reaction 
which stained the reign of Manasseh the representa- 
tives of the higher rehgion were silenced, though 
fragments of prophecy {e.g. Mic. 61-8) may be pre- 
served to us from that period. See further pp. 88f. 

But though pubUc utterance was suppressed and 
Jerusalem ran with the blood of the martyrs, while 
old heathen worships flourished and new cults were 
borrowed from the victorious Assyria, the prophetic 
party was not inactive. The teaching of the eighth- 
century prophets had been concerned in the main 
with social righteousness as the nation's best expres- 
sion of loyalty to its God. But alongside of this, and 
certainly not without some sympathy from the 
prophets, there was a movement more priestly in 
origin for the reform of the cultus. These two ten- 
dencies combined to produce the Book of the Law 
found in the Temple by Hilkiah, which formed the 
basis of Josiah's Reformation. This is usuaUy, and 
in all probability correctly, identified with the original 
Deuteronomy. This hardly included more than 
Dt. .5-26 with 28, and indeed not the whole of this. 
While it was the practical embodiment of the pro- 
phetic teaching in the preceding century, it developed 
the legislation which already existed in the Book of 
the Covenant. It secured the centrahsation of the 
worship at Jerusalem and the suppression of the local 
sanctuaries, and thus created a problem, important 
for the history of the literature, as to the disposal of 
the priests at the disestabhshed sanctuaries. Its 
acceptance by the people at the instigation of Josiah 
made Judah a people of the Law as it had never been 
before. Its acceptance might also be regarded as the 
first step towards the formation of the OT Canon. 
Its doctrine of the correspondence between conduct 
and fortune accentuated the problem created by the 
suffering of the righteous and the prosperity of the 
wicked, to the discussion of which some of the ercatest 
Heb. literature is devoted. It profoundly influcncod 
also the writing of history, giving the historians and 
historical editors a characteristic point of view. Its 



46 



THE DEVELOPMENT OF OLD TESTAMENT LITEEATURE 



literary influence is alflo very marked. There in a 
peculiar Deuteronomietic stylo, as well as point of 
view, and both of these are very noticeable in much 
of the later literature (see pp. 74f. ; 89f. ; 120-131). 

But before the Law-book had been read prophecy 
had again foimd utterance. Nahum wrote liis im- 
passioned song of triumph over the approaching de- 
struction of Nineveh shortly before the downfall of 
Assyria, c. 6<)7 B.C. About twenty years before the 
collapse of the Assyrian Empire, the tidings that vast 
hordes of Scytliians were on the march and drawing 
nearer and nearer, filled the minds of men with dread. 
Zephaniah was stimulated by their approach to an- 
nounce that the Day of Yahweh was at hand. This 
conception, taken over from popular beUef by Amos 
and his successors and transformed in the process, 
received from Zephaniah its most elaborate expression. 
In him we see the hints of an apocalyptic strain which, 
largely through Ezekiel's influence, was to become 
more and more prominent in prophecy (p. 432) ; though 
prophecy did not develop into apocalyptic in the full 
sense till the Book of Daniel. The coming of the 
Scythians was also the theme of Jeremiah's early 
prophecies, though when he collected and published 
his oracles, more than twenty years later, the Scj^hian 
danger had passed, and the foe from the north was 
identified with the Babylonians. His ministry con- 
tinued tiU after the destruction of Jerusalem, em- 
bracing a period of more than foity years. His 
prophecies were collected in the fourth year of 
Jehoiakim ; and when the king had burnt the roll, 
its contents were reproduced and many hke words 
were added. We have authentic prophecies from the 
later period of his life, which were probably \mited 
with the earlier collection by his secretary, Baruch, 
to whom we presumably owe many of the biographical 
sections contained in our book. The relationship 
between Jeremiah and Deuteronomy presents an intri- 
cate problem. We may assume that Jeremiah had 
no hand in its composition, and his ministrj' began 
some years before its discovery. It would seem, then, 
that there could have been no direct influence on either 
fide between his pre-Reformation prophecies and the 
Law-book. But we cannot guarantee that these 
prophecies are preserved for us in their original form, 
and have been unaffected by the Law-book, for they 
were not written down till some fifteen years after 
its publication. If from the first Jeremiah was out of 
sympathy with the reformers, and felt that the pen of 
its lying scribes had wrought falsely (Jer. 88*. p 474), 
then we could not anticipate that his writings would 
betray much trace of its influence. But if, as the 
present writer beheves, he welcomed the book on its 
publication and advocated its reforms, though later he 
rcahsed that the hurt of the people had l)een healed 
too lightly, he may well have been considerably in- 
fluenced by it. It is of course unquestionable that 
our Book of Jeremiah exhibits a strong Deuteronomic 
colouring ; but the book has been much glossed and 
expanded, and it is in these later additions that this 
colouring is most deeply marked. The place of the 
greatest of the prophets in the history of religion is 
among the highest, but his influence on the later 
canonical literature was less profound. His writings 
contain not only his addres-scs to the people, but the 
utterances of hie intercourse with God. His experi- 
ence of religion as intimate fcUowsliip with a personal 
God was reflected in many of the I'ss. He is not to 
be identified with the Servant of Yahweh, but the de- 
lineation of the Servant borrows some traits from his 
personality and career. He influenced Ezokiol, though 



jwrhaps less than is often supposed, and the two men 
are in truth very dissimilar (see pp. 72f. ; 90). 

The fall of Jerusalem (586 b.c.) and the exile to 
Babylon had momentous consequences, not simply for 
religious and political life (pp. 90f.), but for the develop- 
ment of literature. The catastrophe was, of course, 
variously interpreted. Many considered themselves ab- 
solved from their allegiance to Yahweh, whose inabiHty 
or unwillingness to save His people had been demon- 
strated by the fate which had overtaken them. But 
those to whom the future belonged, recognised that 
the prophetic interpretation of history and forecast 
of Judah's doom had been justified by the event. 
They did not believe, however, that punishment was 
Yahwehs last word to them. Judah would be brought 
back again to her own land, there to five in righteous- 
ness and in peace. It was therefore necessary to read 
aright the lessons of the past, to minister to the present 
and prepare for the future. No longer preoccupied 
with pohtics, they had a larger opportunity for Utera- 
ture, and this was utilised in various ways. First it 
was necessary to save as much as possible from the 
wreck. The legislation, the narrative and prophetic 
hterature had to be collected, partly that what was 
intrinsically so precious should not be lost, partly 
that it might serve in the home or in the rehgious 
assembhes, for instruction, warning, and encourage- 
ment. During this period Judges, Samuel, and Kings 
probably assumed in large measure their present form, 
though at some points they exhibit evidence of later 
revision and expansion. The laws had to be codified, 
and the ritual, which could no longer be practised, to 
be put on record for future use. The standpoint from 
which much of the rewriting was undertaken was 
that of Dt., and the Books of Kings in particular show 
this influence in a very marked degree. 

The leader, who more than any other man met the 
need of the time, passing judgment on Israels apostate 
history and announcing its overthrow, changing his 
note to one of consolation when the blow had fallen, 
foretelling the blessed future and preparing for it, was 
Ezekiel (pp. 91, 131). Prophecj- became in his hands 
the exposition of a systematic theology ; it was more 
literary and less oratorical, more laboured and less spon- 
taneous than the utterances of his predecessors. He 
also foreshadows the transformation of prophecy into 
apocalyptic. This is a development whose beginnings 
may bo traced in Zephaniah, but in Ezekiel the signs 
of it are clearer ancl more abundant. The study of 
earlier prophecy, to combine its varied forecasts into 
a coherent scheme, was characteristic of apocalyptic. 
So was its conviction of the Divine transc^nacnce, 
and its interpolation between God and man of angelic 
orders as instruments of His government. Similarly 
its assurance that God's intervention would bo catas- 
trophic when it came, rather than take the form of an 
evolution from the existing political situation. The 
anticipation was also found that the heathen would 
come to assail Gods people in the Holy Land, and 
would be overthrown by a stroke of God without need 
for Israel to fight in self-defence. It need hardly be 
said that Ezekiel is a prophet rather than an apoca- 
lyptist, and that a wide gulf Ues between his book 
and such works as Daniel and Enoch. But some of 
the features most characteristic of apocalyptic are 
present in liis writings in a rudimentary form. 

In another and more important re.spect Ezekiel 
exercised a great influence on the later development. 
The codification of the law would presumably have 
proceeded apart from him, as is shown by the com- 
pilation of the Holiness Code (pp. 129f.). But Ezekiel's 



THE DEVELOPMENT OF OLD TESTAMENT LITERATURE 



47 



Kketch of a religious constitution for tlie community on 
its return provided the bridge between Deuteronomy 
and the Priestly Code. In paiticular his solution of the 
problem created by the disestablishment of the priest- 
hood of the high places, directly prepared the way for 
the distinction between priests and Levites so charac- 
teristic of P. This constitutes one of the decisive 
proofs that P is later than Ezekiel (p. 129). He 
created the distinction between the priests and Levites 
which was then carried back in P to the time of Moses, 
and treated not as a degradation from the priesthood 
for apostasy, but as a distinction elevating Levi above 
the other tribes. 

Another problem which was created by the miseries 
of the people wliich culminated in the Exile was that of 
the suffering of the righteous and the prosperity of the 
wicked (pp. 92, 94). Touched upon by Jeremiah (I2i), 
it is explicitly discussed by Habakkuk ; it is the subject 
of the fourth Servant Poem (Is. 52i3-53i2). Ezekiel 
had met the complaint of the people that the fathers 
had eaten sour grapes and the children's teeth were 
set on edge by roundly denying that this impUed 
challenge oi Yahweh's righteousness had anysubstance: 
each suffered for his own sin, there was neither vicarious 
penalty nor vicarious reward. It is the problem from 
wliich the author of Job starts, though it is a mistake 
to suppose that the author's main purpose was to 
discuss it or discover the solution. His interest is 
rather concentrated on the history of Job's soul, as, 
conscious of his own innocence, he seeks to adjust his 
relations with God. The problem is the theme of 
some of the Pss., notably Pss. 37, 49, 73. It is touched 
upon by several of the post-exilic prophets, it provides 
a basis' for the pessimism of Ecclesiastes, and is the 
dark background for the apocalyptic hope of Daniel. 
It has been commonly supposed that our first literary- 
expression of the problem is to be found in Habalakuk, 
and that he wrote in the reign of Jehoiakim, when 
the Chaldeans were entering upon their great career 
of conquest. But I5-11 in its present text seems to 
presuppose a different situation from the rest of 
Hab. If. Accordingly the present writer prefers to 
consider that, while I3-11 is pre-exilic. the main body 
of the prophecy is exilic, and may be dated about 
560-550 (see The Problem of Suffering in fhe OT, 
pp. 151-171). (The author of the commentary agrees 
with this position, except that he assigns more to the 
pre-exilic prophecy.) Hab. 3 is a post-exilic Ps. 

To the close of the Exile we should assign the great 
prophecy of the anonymous poet to whom we owe 
Is. 40-55 (pp. 91f.). The circumstances which it pre- 
supposes are wholly different from those of Isaiah's 
own time. The Jews are in exile, Jerusalem and the 
Temple are in ruins ; Babylon, not Assyria, is the great 
oppressing empire ; but her downfall is near, and the 
restoration of God's people to Palestine is at hand, for 
Cyrus has already begun his career of conquest, and 
Babylon will soon fall before him. It was natural that 
the work of the Second Isaiah should, in the earlier 
critical period, be regarded as extending over the whole 
of the last twenty-seven chapters (40-66), though sug- 
gestions that those chapters were not a unity were 
occasionally heard. Even then, however, there was 
little justification for the phrase " two Isaiahs " as 
representing the real critical view. For there are some 
related sections in Is. 1-39 which spring out of the 
same situation (I3i-1423 and 21io), and there were 
other sections (24-27 and 34f.) which were obviously 
much later than Isaiah's time. More recent criticism 
has detected .a much larger body of non-Isaianio 
matter, though in the present writer's judgment it 



has tended to extrcnK^ views both with reference to 
the proportion of non-Isaianic matter in Is. 1-39 and 
the extensive interpolation it discovers in genuine 
Isaianic oracles. It must of course be recognised 
that, once the presence of a large non-Isaianic element 
in the book is conceded, the question of authorship and 
date of other sections ought not to be prejudiced in 
the traditional direction by their inclusion in a book 
which bears Isaiah's name. So far as 40-66 is con- 
cerned, Duhm's verdict that the work of the Second 
Isaiah does not extend beyond 55 has been very widely 
accepted. Opinion is more divided on two other 
questions. Duhm holds that the four so-called Servant 
of Yahwch Poems (Is. 4O1-4, 49i-6, 5O4-9, 62i3- 
53x2) were written a good while later than the rest 
of 40-55. This view is also taken b}^ several other 
scholars. To some extent it is comphcated with ques- 
tions as to the significance attached to the Servant. 
Those who hold that the Servant of Yahweh in the 
poems is an individual, naturally tend to regard the 
poems as not by the Second Isaiah, who uses the term 
" Servant " in a national and not an individual sense. 
Those who regard the Servant as meaning the same 
tiling throughout, sometimes assert identity and some- 
times difference of authorship. The present writer 
believes that the Servant stands throughout for the 
actual nation of Israel ; but the nation is sometimes 
depicted as it actually was, sometimes as looked at 
from the ideal point of view in the light of its mission 
and function. He is less confident as to the authorship 
of the poems, but on the whole considers it probable 
that they were written by the Second Isaiah, and in- 
serted by him in their present position. The other 
point about which there is still debate touches Is. 
56-66. Duhm assigns the whole section, apart from 
interpolations, to a single author whom he calls the 
Trito-Isaiah. It is questionable, however, whether 
all can be attributed to the same hand. For the most 
part it apparently belongs to much the same period, 
the middle of the fifth century. But it is not easy 
to beheve that the same writer worked on such dif- 
ferent levels of hterary excellence, and more probably 
we have to do with a plurality of authors. To the 
exilic period, and not to the first century B.C., as the 
author of the commentary in this volume supposes, 
the greater part of the Book of Lamentations probably 
belongs. Lam. 2, 4 appear to be early exilic, Lam. 1 
and 5 late exihc, Lam. 3 post-exiUc. None of it seems 
to be the work of Jeremiah himself. To the Exile 
we should also assign the review of Israel's history, 
in the light of prophetic theology which we find in 
the Song of Moses (Dt. 32). 

According to the generally accepted chronology, the 
return of Jews from Babylon to Jerusalem took place 
by permission of Cj-rus in 536. Sixteen years later, 
two prophets, Haggai and Zechariah. began their 
work. Of the former nothing need be said. He did 
a useful work, but pedestrian and commonplace in 
style, he ranks low in the scale of literary merit. 
The latter is the author of Zech. 1-8 the remaining 
chapters (9-14) being probably much later. Zechariah 
is interesting as cxluhiting some of the apocalyptic 
features which characterise Ezekiel — enigmatic em- 
blems, visions, angelic intermediaries, the anticipation 
of God's decisive intervention to effect Israel's de- 
liverance. Malachi and Is. 56-66 (probably with the 
exception of 637-64i2) may be dated about the middle 
of the fifth century. The latter contains some very 
fine passages, notably 60-62 and the powerful though 
morally repulsive description of Yahweh's destruction 
of Edom in 63i-6. 



48 



THE DEVELOPMENT OF OLD TESTAMENT LITERATURE 



Meanwhile a more moment oua work had been 
achieved by the author, or authors, of the Priestly 
Code, which is probably somewhat less extensive 
than the portion of the Pentateuch included under 
the symbol P. We have no precise knowledge as to 
its origin. Earlier collections of ritual laws had lx?en 
made, such as the so-called Law of Holiness (pp. 129f.), 
which was subsequently incorporated in P. P was 
probably compiled after the return in 536, but some 
time before the mission of Ezra in 45vS. If closer 
dating is to be hazarded, 500-475 is as likely a period 
as any. It is a very singular document ; some of 
its more exaggerated peculiarities may belong to its 
later sections, but if so they are only exaggerations of 
characteristic features. The words and phrases which 
occur with marked frequency form a long hst, and a 
strange cast is given to the style by the frequency 
of peculiar formulae of enumeration. Stereotyped 
formulae are constantly repeated, statement after 
statement is cast in precisely the same mould. Genea- 
logies are prominent, whole centuries being filled with 
nothing but names and dates. Minute dating, statis- 
tics, specifications for building have a fascination for 
the writer, but for the human element in the story he 
has little care. He expands into detail only when an 
institution or law, or something in which his point of 
view gives him a special interest, is connected with 
the story. He has no interest in stories for their own 
sake, he" cares simply for the moral they point or the 
regulation whose origin they recount. J and E, on 
the contrary, take a frank interest in the human side 
of their stories, and care much less for the things 
which engross the mind of the priestly writer, whose 
instincts are those of an ecclesiastical lawyer. It 
was this law, which largely codified the earlier ritual 
practices, sometimes of immemorial antiquity, but 
which also contained new and far-reaching provisions, 
that was the basis of Ezra's reformation. Whether 
the Law read to the people on that occasion was the 
whole Pentateuch or merely the Priestly document 
is still disputed. But, even if it was only the latter, 
not many years can have elapsed before the documents 
were combined, and the Pentateuch, much as we have it, 
came into existence. (See further pp. 125f., 129-131.) 

With the Reformation Judaism was bom. The 
religion in its new development was stamped with 
an exclusiveness which did not pass unchallenged. 
To the literature of protest we should probably reckon 
the exquisite story of Ruth (p. 22) and the wonderful 
Book of Jonah. The former quotes against the harsh 
dissolution of marriages with foreign wives the case of 
Ruth, who, Moabitess though she was, displayed a 
filial piety of the most beautiful type, took Naomi's 
God, country, and people for her own, and won the 
admiration and love of Boaz, whose marriage with 
her was so blest by God that from it David and the 
royal house of Judah sprang. The latter is a parable 
in which Jonah stands for Israel. The author recalls 
his people to the mission assigned them by the Second 
Isaiah of carrying to the heathen the knowledge of 
the true Ood, pleads with them to abandon their 
impatient longintr for the destruction of the Gentile 
world, affirms the readiness of heathenism to accept 
the tnith. sets forth the boundless love and com- 
passion of ("!od. The storj' is told with remarkable 
skill, not a word is wasted, every phrase tells. It is 
a perfect example of the short story, and its art 
is nowhere more conspicurtus than in its close 
(p. 558). The Book of Obadiah offers an unpleasant 
contrast. 

On the Poetical and ^^'i.sdom Literature, which was 



in the main a product of the post-exilic period, refer- 
ence may bo made to what is said in the article de- 
voted to it (pp. 34 If.). 

A few wor^ may be added on the prophetic Utera- 
ture between Ezra and the Maccabees. Wo see in 
this period a still fuller development of the process 
by which prophecj' was transformed into apocalyptic. 
Joel, Is. 24-27, 34f., Zech. 9-14, aU in varying measure 
exhibit tliis feature. Joel is still commonly regarded 
as a unity, though recently various scholars have 
revived the attempts to analyse it. Is. 24-27 is one 
of the most striking examples of the later prophecy. 
It has a whole series of apocalyptic features, but, as 
Duhm has shown, it is by no means a unity. The 
worthiest occasion is the tremendous convulsion 
occasioned by the movement of Alexander the Great 
against Persia. 

The Book of Daniel is our sole example in the OT 
of an apocalypse in the full sense of the term, corre- 
sponding to the Book of Revelation in the NT. The 
date of an apocalypse can often be fixed by observing 
the point at which history, masquerading as predic- 
tion, passes over into real prediction. The author, as 
a rule, publishes his work under the name of a much 
more ancient author. Accordingly the interval be- 
tween the alleged and the actual time of production 
is past to the real, but future to the alleged, author. 
The author, while writing the historj' of this interval, 
has therefore to give it out as prediction. The pre- 
diction grows fuller and more precise as his own time 
is approached. But inasmuch as it has to be carried 
forward to the crisis, which lies in the real and not 
the pretended future, at the point of transition the 
language, hitherto so exact, becomes vague and the 
forecast mistaken. By this consideration the Book of 
Daniel maj' be fixed within the period 168-1G5 B.C. 
It is written partly in Hebrew and partly in Aramaic. 
Perhaps the whole book was written in Aramaic origin- 
ally, but the beginning and the end of it were trans- 
lated into Hebrew to fit the book for inclusion in the 
OT Canon. 

One notable feature in connexion with the prophetic 
literature remains to be mentioned. The writings of 
most of the earlier prophets have been expanded by 
later editors. Sometimes prophecies of disaster have 
been rounded off with happy endings, sometimes 
adjusted to new conditions, often annotated with 
glosses. Prophecies which circulated without a name 
have by accident or design Ijeen incorporated with 
the work of other authors. 

Just as the publication of D led to a revision of the 
older historical narratives, so it was felt to bo necessary 
to rewrite the sacred history on the theory that the 
completed Law was in operation, and to bring down 
the story to the reforms of Ezra and Nehemiah. This 
work was accomplished by the author to whom we 
owe Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemuih. For the history 
of the kingdom he may have used an earlier revision of 
the older historical books made from a point of view 
similar to his own. The date of the chronicler's work 
was perhaps about 300 B.C. The main features of the 
revision are as follows. No attempt is made to relate 
the history in detail down to the time of David, the 
period is covered simply with genealogies. In other 
words, he shows no desire to supersede the canonical 
records of the earlier history that we find in the Hex., 
Jg., and 1 S. He omits the unedifying incidents in 
the reigns of David and Solomon, except the census 
taken by David, which he attributes to the impulse 
of Satan rather than of Yahweh. The liistory of the 
Northern Kingdom is practically ignored except where 



THE DEVELOPMENT OF OLD TESTAMENT LITERATURE 



49 



the story of the Southern Kingdom made reference 
to it necessary, since he evidently regarded its revolt 
against the Davidic monarchy as cutting it off from 
the true Israel. Great interest is exhibited in the 
Temple, and especially in the musical services. The 
author was probably a Levite who belonged to the 
Temple choir. He constantly exhibits the working of 
a mechanical law of retribution, and in this interest 
frequently modifies the older narrative. He also 
exhibits a fondness for systematically high numbers. 
Chronicles has preserved some fragments of historical 
information which would otherwise have perished, but 
in the main its historical value is small. The latter 
portion of the Chronicler's work is of special value 
because it gives us the only information on the period 
which we have in the OT, but especially for the large 
extracts it has embodied from the memoirs of Ezra 
and Nehemiah and from State documents. The 
curious fact that in the Heb. Bible Chronicles follows 
Ezra and Nehemiah, and is thus the last book in the 
OT, is no doubt due to the fact that it attained 



canonical rank later. Ezra and Nehemiah were 
needed to complete the storj-, whereas the period 
covered by Chronicles was already represented by 
the older historical literature. (See pp. 75-77.) 

Finally we have the Book of Esther (p. 22). This was 
probably written in the later Maccabcan period, when 
the success of the Jews had enhanced their pride, and 
the wrongs they had suffered had embittered their 
resentment against the Gentiles, while the nobler 
enthusiasm of the great days of Judas had died down, 
and the secular had replaced the high religious tone. 
The story is characterised by so many improbabilities 
and inconsistencies that it can hardly be regarded as 
in any sense historical. The LXX contains many 
passages which are not found in the Heb. According 
to the practically unanimous verdict of scholars, these 
are later additions. This view is in all probability 
right, though the author of the commentary in this 
volume considers the LXX to be more original. 

Literature. — See the bibliography on BibUcal Intro- 
duction in the •' General Bibliographies." 



THE NATIONS CONTEMPORARY WITH 

ISRAEL 



By Professor 0. L. BEDALE 



The attempt to fulfil the promise of the title will 
involve the survey of a wide area. From Palestine 
as the centre, the survey will take us eastward into 
Iran and westward to the island of Crete, and even 
into Macedonia ; northward we shall penetrate into 
Asia Minor, and southward into the great peninsula 
of Arabia. Many peoples will be met with, some of 
Semitic, others of Indo-European stock, while of others, 
again, the racial origins cannot yet be determined. 
The names of nearly all of them occur in the OT ; 
and while the study of their histories, so far as the 
results of exploration have made it possible, is full of 
interest for its own sake, it has for the student of 
the OT an additional attraction, since it has gradually 
become apparent that Israel was greatly affected, 
sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly, by the 
peoples in the midst of whom she lived. It is no 
longer possible to think of Israel as an isolated nation. 
The country which she conquered had undergone a 
long preparation, as it were, for her occupation of it. 
For many centuries before Israel entered Palestine, 
influences from surrounding countries had been at 
work there ; and after the " Conquest " Palestine 
still remained subject to external influences, though 
their character and direction changed according to 
political changes in the Nearer East. It is necessary, 
therefore, in order to understand the history of Israel, 
to have some knowledge of the most important 
developments in the history of her neighbours, 
and of their relations both with her and with one 
another. 

We begin our survey with Arabia. The shape of 
this country may bo best described as an irregular 
parallelogram, the four sides of which are formed by 
(1) the Euphrates and the Persian Gulf, (2) the Indian 
"Ocean, (.3) the Red Sea, and (4) the countries of 
Palestine and Syria. Ai)art from numerous oases and 
a few more considerable fertile areas, the largest of 
which forms the southcmmost comer of the country, 
Arabia as a whole consists either of desert or of steppe 
land. Neither is suitable for agriculture, but the latter 
serves for pasture, and was occupied from time im- 
memorial by nomad tribes. The race to which these 
tribes belong is called " Semitic," a convenient term, 
of modem origin, formed from the name of Noah's 
eldest son. They lived a free but hard life. The 
character of the country was such that they were 
engaged in a constant stniggle to obtain food, niere 
was no permanent settlement in any one spot. The 
tribes moved about at will from one pasture-ground 
to another, the only restriction on their movements 
being provided by the unwritten nilc that each must 
keep within the limits of the tract of country which 
in course of time had come to be recognised as its 
own special district. If, however, a tribe felt strong 



enough to invade the district of a neighbouring tribe, 
this mle was readily set aside. Of government, in 
the modem sense of the term, there wa« little. Written 
law was unknown, and justice was administered in 
accordance with the standard provided bv tribal 
custom, and was enforced by the will of tlie com- 
munity. But if a man were sufficiently powerful to 
defy with impunit}' the common ^vill, he would do so. 
Each tribe had its chief and its leading men, who owed 
their position to a reputation for warlike prowess, or 
to the possession of wealth, or to both of these. Their 
authority was greatest in times of war, when success 
depended on the loyalty of all to the leaders, or on 
occasions of migration, when the scattered clans of 
a tribe were united under the direction of trusted 
guides. The real basis of the tribal organisation was 
the idea of " kinship," according to which the common 
blood was supposed to flow in the veins of every member 
of the kindred group. There were no degrees of kin- 
ship, but all members of the groiip were " brothers." 
To kill a man was to shed the blood, and so to imperil 
the life, of the group to which he belonged ; hence the 
law of blood -revenge : " At the hand of man, even at 
the hand of every man's brother, will I require the 
Ufe of man " (Gen. 95). It was a crude method, and 
led to many tribal feuds, but not othervnse in those 
days could the kindred group be maintained. 

It will be convenient to divide the following record 
into six periods, distinguishing each by the name of 
the people by which Palestine, the standpoint of the 
present survey, was chiclly influenced and controlled — 
the Babvlonian, the Egyptian, the As-syrian, the Chal- 
da}an. the Persian, and the Oreek. 

I. The Babylonian Period.— The country of Bahy- 
lonia is an aUuvial plain formed by the rivers Tigris 
and Euphrates, between the lower courses of which it 
lies. Its present area is considerably greater than it 
was five thousand years ago, for the bed of the Eu- 
phrates then lay some distance to the east of its 
present one, and the head of the Persian Gulf was 
about 130 miles higher than it is to-day. The fer- 
tility of the country depended mainly on the manage- 
ment of the vast volumes of water which, owing to the 
melting of the snows in the northern mountains, flowed 
in spring down the Tigris and Euphrates. If uncon- 
trolled, the rivers overflowed their banks far and wide ; 
and afterwards, when the level of the water had fallen, 
the blazing summer sun drie<l up the flooded land. If 
left to itself, then, thecountry had to enduroaltemations 
of flood and drought. Verj' early, however, the inhabi- 
tants devised the canal sj'Stem, thereby drawing off 
the superfluous waters of the rivers when they were in 
flood, and providing for the irrigation of the land during 
the period of fierce summer heat. Under these con- 
ditions its fertility was amaxing : of wheat, for instance. 



THE NATIONS CONTEMPORARY WITH ISRAEL 



51 



two and even three crops, yielding often more than two 
hundredfold, were obtained annually. 

At an early date a distinction arose between the 
northern and southern halves of the country, which 
came to be kno\VTi as Akkad and Sumer respectively. 
There was also a racial difierence between the inhabi- 
tants of the two divisions. In the south there lived a 
people called by historians Sumerians. Their physical 
characteristics, as portrayed on their monuments, show 
that they were racially distinct from the Semites ; and 
their inscriptions are \vritten in a non-Semitic language 
of the agglutinative ty£)e. They probably came into 
Babyioiua from the east. In the north, in addition 
to the Sumerians. there was a considerable and con- 
stantly increasing Semitic element, derived from 
Arabia. It is, as yet, uncertain which race entered 
the country first, but there is no doubt that the founda- 
tions of Babylonian civilisation were laid by the 
Sumerians. One by one the diilerent branches^f that 
civilisation have been found to have a Sumerian origin ; 
and the Sumerians were responsible for the introduc- 
tion — and probably, also, the invention — -of the 
" cuneiform script," the use of which was at one time 
so \videspread in the Near East. Like the Egyptian 
hieroglyphics, this script had its origin in a system of 
picture writing, in which the thing or idea to be 
represented was drawn in rough outline on stone or 
other hard material. When the Sumerians entered 
Babylonia they found that, owing to the alluvial 
character of the country, such materials were not 
obtainable. There was. however, an abundance of 
fine clay, and this they formed into blocks of different 
sizes and shapes, making the necessary impressions 
on them by means of a stylus. The change of material 
caused a change in the forms of the signs, for in rapid 
writing on soft clay the marks made by the stylus were 
thicker and deeper at one end than at the other. Hence 
the straight Imes wliich had originally formed the out- 
lines of the pictures became " cuneiform " or " wedge- 
shaped." Of the signs which thus developed out of 
the old pictures, together \vith others of artificial 
formation, some represented complete ideas, others 
had one or more syllabic values, while very many of 
them served both purposes, but none represented single 
consonants. Thus there grew up an elaborate and 
complicated system of writing. 

For several centuries after the date — shortly before 
3000 — at which our historical knowledge of Baby- 
lonia begins, the controlling influence, although its 
centre shifted from city to city, was in the hands of 
the Sumerians. In time, however, as the Semites 
received reinforcements from Arabia, a grim race- 
struggle developed, in which Semite and Sumerian 
were engaged in a contest for supremacj'. The 
struggle was a long one, but towards the close of the 
third millennium B.C. a fre-sh influx of Semites into 
N. Babylonia definitely placed the Sumerians in a 
position of inferiority. The newcomers, kno-wn to the 
Babjloniana as " Amurru " (OT " Amorites "), settled 
in various northern cities, but their chief centre was 
Babylon, whose importance rapidly developed until 
she became the capital of the whole of Babylonia. 
Now, too, wa-s established by Sumu-abu {c. 2050) the 
famous 1st Dynasty of Babylon, the sixth member 
of which was Kiiammurabi, who is generally identified 
with the Amraphel of Gen. 14*. Khammurabi was 
Babylonia's greatest king. He was not only a very 
successful soldier, but attended to the internal organ- 
isation of his kingdom, and his letters show how careful 
he was for even the smallest details of administration. 
Uis chief claim to fame rests on his legal code. This 



was the result of a sifting and systematisation of laws, 
many of which were of Sumerian origm, and had long 
been in force in difierent parts of the land. The code 
is remarkably comprehensive, and contains regiilations 
for the control and protection of all classes of the 
community, even including the slave. It is note- 
worthy that many of its regulations have parallels 
in the Pentateuchal legislation, which suggest that the 
latter was influenced, directly or indirectly, by tlie 
Babylonian code (Ex. 21 1 "). Khammurabi calls himself 
in an inscription " King of the West Land." trom which 
it would appear that Syria and Palestine were within 
the Babylonian sphere of influence. It is impossible, 
as yet, to determine to what extent, and for how long, 
these regions were under the political supremacy of 
Babylonia, but there is no doubt that their civilisation 
Owed much to the influence which she brought to 
bear, partly by means of her armies, and partly by 
means of merchants and others for whom the armies 
prepared the way. Thus the inhabitants of the 
" West Land " learned from the soldier how to fortify 
their cities more strongly ; through the merchant they 
obtained Babylonian wares (c/. Jos. Tax) ; while the 
scribe introduced the Babylonian language and script, 
which, from the discovery of numerous cuneiform 
tablets at Taanach and elsewhere, seem to have been 
regularly employed in Palestine, at least in oflScial cor- 
respondence. Nor is this surprising when we know, 
from the Hittite arcliives of Boghaz-Keui (p. 53) and 
from the Tell el-Amama letters(p. 55), how widespread 
the use of the cuneiform script became. Babylonian re- 
ligious ideas, also, came westward through the medium 
of myths, some fragments of which have actually been 
found among the Amarna tablets. This last fact is 
important, for it suggests an explanation of the re- 
markable resemblance between certain of the early 
narratives of Genesis and the stories dealing with 
similar subjects (e.gr. Creation and Deluge) which have 
been found in Babylonia. We may suppose that these 
stories had long been known to the Canaanites, and 
that the Hebrews, after their entry into Palestine, 
gradually adopted them, as they adopted many other 
elements of the Canaanitish civilisation. We must be 
careful, however, not to exaggerate the indebtedness 
of the Hebrews to Babylonia. This has been done 
by some, who have declared that Israel's religion, like 
her material culture, was borrowed, and, because 
there are many resemblances between the religious 
beliefs and practices of Babylonia and Israel, have 
assumed that Babylonia was its source. This assump- 
tion neglects many important difEerences between the 
religious ideas of the two peoples. It is true that the 
two sets of Creation and Deluge narratives agree in 
their general outlines, and that they reflect the same 
primitive scientific ideas ; but it does not require a 
very careful reading to show that in spirit and in con- 
ception of the divine they are widely separated. Like 
the Hebrews, too, the Babylonians had their hymns, 
prayers, and penitential psalms, in which expression 
was given to ethical and religious conceptions so lofty 
that many of them would not be out of place even in 
the pages of the OT. Vet it is equally true that these 
compositions of Babylonian priests and jMsets are 
always polj'theistic in tone, and imply beliefs in the 
power of demons and the efficacy of magic, which the 
most inspired teachers of Israel sternly condenm as 
unworthy of Yahwoh and of His worshippers. Nor 
is there any evidence that the Babylonian priests 
ever grasped the great principle of " ethical mono- 
theism," which is the very foundation of the teaching 
of Isiuel's historiaoa, psalmists, and prophets, and the 



52 



THE NATIONS CONTEMPORARY WITH ISRAEL 



acceptance of which enabled them to produce a re- 
ligious literature unrivalled by that of any other 
people. 

I)uring the reigns of the lat-er kings of the Ist 
Dynasty of Babj'lon there are signs of growing weak- 
ness. At last, in the reign of Samsn-ditana. the 
eleventh king of the line, an invasion of Hittitcs from 
Asia Minor resulted in the capture and sack of Babylon 
(c. 17/)4 B.C.). The Hittites soon retired, but their 
retirement did not mean freedom for Babylonia. For 
some time before the Hittite invasion, raiding bands 
of Kasfiites, who were Tndo-Europeans by race, had 
been coming from the mountains east of the Tigris. 
At first they were held in check, but on the fall of 
Babylon they entered the country' in greater numbers, 
and established themselves at Babylon (c. 1750). 
Thus began the Kassite Dynasty, which lasted for 
576 years. 

While the advent of the Kassites must at first have 
caused some disturbance, it does not appear to have 
brought about any considerable alteration in the 
internal condition of Babj'loina. They gradually 
adopted the Babylonian cidture, whicii was so much 
higher than their own ; and the records of the period, 
which are, unfortunatelj-, very scanty, indicate that 
while, on the whole, the Kassite kings were capable 
administrators, no one of them has to his credit any 
great achievement. But while the daj'^s of Baby- 
lonia's greatest power had gone by, she was still a 
strong kingdom, and, as is sho%vn by specimens of the 
diplomatic correspondence of the Egyptian and Baby- 
lonian courts, which have been preserved in the 
Amama Collection, she still had a share in the conduct 
of international affairs. In Palestine, however, her 
influence gradually declined, and her place there w'as 
taken by Egypt, to which country we must now turn 
our attention. 

II. The Egyptian Period. — The country of Egypt 
occupies the NE. comer of Africa. Its native name 
was " Kimct " — i.e. " The Black (Country) " — in 
allusion to the colour of the soil. The name " Egypt " 
comes from the Greek, and is of obscure origin. The 
shape of the country has been aptly liliened to a fan, 
the handle being formed by the valley of the Nile, 
S. of Memphis, and the fan itself by the Nile Delta. 
It is a small country, for if the deserts on the E. and 
W. be left out of the calculation, its area is not much 
more than 13,000 square miles. Its most important 
physical feature is the river Nile. Not only did it 
constitute the chief higiiway for traffic, but its annual 
overflow, caused by the melting of snows and by the 
heavy spring rains, left a deposit of rich mud as the 
floods dried up. The more extensive the inimdation, 
the greater the fertilisation. The Egyptians also 
assisted Nature as much as possible by a system of 
canals, dykes, and pumps ; and agriculture, which 
normally afforded good returns, became the main 
occupation of the people. In the population of the 
country there were several distinct elements. The 
early inhabitants of Upper (i.e. South) Egyi^t, whose 
remains can be traced back to Neolithic times, seem 
to have entered the Nile Valley from the S. or SE., 
and to be connected racially with the Ethiopians. 
In Lower Egj-pt there appears to have been a mingling 
of two races. On the one hand, there were people of 
Semitic type, who came from Aiabia and contributed 
the Semitic elements so noticeable ui the Egj'ptian 
religion and language ; on the other hand, there was 
an element of " Mediterranean " tj'pe, related to the 
ancient Cretans, which {)laycd an ever-increasing part 
in the development of Egyptian civilisation. These 



three elements were gradually welded together V) 
form the Egyptian people. 

It will be impossible to make more than passiiig 
allusions to Egyptian civilisation, but a few words 
may be said here about the script. Originally Egyptian 
writing was pictographic. Each sign stood for a 
complete word. In course of time certain signs, 
representing different sounds, came to be used in 
various combinations as syllables ; and finally, signs 
denoting single consonants were employed. In all 
there were between six and seven hundred signs, but 
very many of them were not in regular use. In addi- 
tion to the three classes of signs there were three types 
of script : the " hieroglyphic," which was always 
used for monumental mscriptions and never lost its 
pictorial character; the " hieratic," made up of such 
abbreviations of the hieroglyphic as were convenient 
for writing on papyrus ; and the " demotic," or 
popula«» in which the signs were still further abbre- 
viated for ordinary use. 

Corresponding to the difEerence of races, Egypt 
was for a long time divided into two kingdoms, the 
one in the north and the other in the south. For 
centuries these two khigdoms existed side by side ; 
and it would seem that at first, owing, probably, to 
the presence of the " Mediterranean " element in the 
population, the superiority in civilisation lay with the 
northern kingdom. Gradually, however, the strength 
of the south grew until it was able to conquer the 
north. A united kingdom was formed, and the first 
of the thirty-one dynasties, into which the rulers of 
Egypt are divided, was established. The date of this 
event is uncertain : it cannot be placed much later 
than c. 3500 b.c;., and it may be earlier. 

The history of the centuries which elapsed betw'een 
this date and the Hyksos invasion cannot be written 
here. We must pass over the period of the " Old 
Kingdom," comprising Dynasties I-VI (c. 3500 to 
c. 2500), pausing only to remind the reader that this 
was the age of the builders of the Pyramids — the royal 
tombs which command universal atimiration, not 
merely for their size, but also for the proofs which their 
design and construction afford of the skill and accurate 
scientific knowledge of their builders. Nor can we 
stay to dCvScribe the " Middle Kingdom." which began, 
after several centuries of great unsettlement, wlien 
civil war was common and culture degenerated, with 
the rise of the Xlth Dynasty, and during which, 
especially under the Xllth Dynasty (c3ta.blished 
c. 2000), Egypt was so prosperous that the era was 
often regarded in after days as a " golden age. ' 
Again, however, as at the close of the " Old Ivingdom," 
a period of decline set in ; the kings of the XlUth 
and XlVth Dynasties are little more than names to 
us ; and the confusion and obscurity of the time are 
increased by the sudden invasion of Egypt from the 
east by the " Hyksos," or " Shepherd Kings." These 
invaders established themselves in the Delta. There 
has been much sjiecidation as to their race. It is 
probable that they were, in the main, Semit<5s. with 
a considerable admi.xturo of other racial elements. 
The date of the invasion is also doubtful, but it cannot 
have been much later than 1800. 

At this point we must turn aside from our survey of 
the history of Egypt to give a brief account of the 
origins of a number of other peoples who had already 
made their apj)earance in the Near East, and w'ho were 
destined to play parts of greater or less importance 
in the immediate or more remote future. 

To the north of Babylonia lies the country of 
Assyria — so called from Asshur, the earliest Assyrian 



THE NATIONS CONTEMPORARY WITH ISRAEL 



53 



centre and capital. The boundaries of the country 
•were formed on the E. and N. by the mountains of 
Kurdistan and Armenia ; on the S. and W. they cannot 
be strictly defined. The character of the country is 
entirely clifFerent from that of Babylonia. On the E. 
of the Tigris are numerous ranges of hills with well- 
watered valleys between ; on the W. the supi)ly of 
water is much poorer. This explains the fact that all 
the important cities of Ass\Tia, with the exception of 
Asshur, were situated on the E. of the Tigris. As a 
whole, the fertility of Assyria was far below that of 
Babylonia. 

The predominant element in the population was 
Semitic, and we may suppose that AssjTia shared 
with Babylonia in the migration of Semites from Arabia 
which took place in the fourth millennium B.C. The 
Assyrian Semites, reinforced, no doubt, from time to 
time, by fresh arrivals of their kinsfolk from Arabia 
and Babylonia, gradually mingled with and absorbed 
the earlier population. Tlie nation which resulted 
from the combination of these two elements, while 
speaking the same language as the Babylonians — 
with, of course, variations of dialect^ — yet differed 
from them in many respects. They were essentially 
a military people. By war they lived, and their 
military activities left them no time for the develop- 
ment of an independent culture. In architecture and 
sculpture they showed originality, but their religion 
and literature, together with other elements of culture, 
they borrowed from Babylonia. Their chief centre 
in earliest times was Asshur, originally a city-state 
which gradually extended its influence until it became 
the capital of the country. It is not unlikely that the 
various cities at first formed a confederacy, with Asshur 
at its head. Our knowledge of Assyrian history does 
not begin till towards the close of the third millennium 
B.C., when we hear of the priest-kings, Ushpia and 
Kikia, strengthening Asshur's defences, and building 
the Temple of Ashir, its god. According to tradition, 
the actual founder of the kingdom of Assyria was Bel- 
bani, a somewhat later ruler. Towards the end of 
the third millennium the Assyrian king, Hu-shuma, 
came into conflict with Sumu-abu. the founder of the 
1st Dynasty of Babylon. Whether Ilu-shuma's 
resistance was successful or not we cannot say. Prob- 
ably Assyria was weakened, for we find her tributary 
to Babylon in the reign of Khammurabi (c. 1950). 
The fall of the 1st Dynasty of Babylon, however, made 
Assyria, at least for a time, independent. 

In N. Mesopotamia, between the upper waters of 
the Tigris and the Euphrates, lay the country of 
Mitanni. As in the case of its more famous neigh- 
bours, its origins are unknown, and it does not come 
into the light of history until about the middle of the 
fifteenth century B.C., when there reigned the first of 
a number of kings whose names have been preserved 
in the tablets of Boghaz-keui and Tell el-Amama. 
There is little doubt that these royal names are of 
Aryan type, and some of the Mitannian gods were 
Aryan. It is not unlikely that those kings were the 
heads of an Aryan aristocracy which had established 
itself in Mitanni in the same way, and about the same 
time, as the Kassites, to whom they were probably 
akin, gained control of Babylonia. The bulk of the 
population may well have been of the same stock as 
the earliest inhabitants of Assyria, with the addition, 
perhaps, of a small Semitic element. 

It was stated above that the fall of the Ist Dynasty 
of Babylon was, in large mea.sure, due to an invasion 
of Hittites (c. 17.54). This is the first appearance of 
the HittitflB in history. Their origin and racial con- 



nexions are obscure. From the presence of mountain 
deities in their pantheon, and from certain charac- 
teristics of their dress, it has been inferred that their 
early home was in the mountains ; but whether they 
were indigenous to Asia Minor, as some suppose, or 
whether they migrated thither from the east, cannot 
at present be determined. Their physical character- 
istics have long been familiar from their own and from 
Egyptian monuments ; but in spite of numerous 
references to them in the OT, their history was almost 
a blank until the late Dr. Winckler discovered the royal 
archives at Boghaz-kcui. From thef.e it has been 
possible to reconstruct their history for a period of 
some two hundred years, during which they attained 
to the height of their power. The founder of the 
empire, and its greatest king, was Slmbbiluliuma, who, 
aoout the beginning of the fourteenth century B.C., 
united a number of independent Hittite states under 
his rule. His capita), Kliatti (Boghaz-keui) was 
situated E. of the Halys, in the Anatolian plateau. 
In civilisation the Hittites reached a high level. They 
owed much to Babylonia, though they were more than 
mere slavish imitators. Quite early they adopted the 
cuneiform script, and the Boghaz-keui archives are 
all written in cuneiform, the language employed being 
sometimes Hittite and sometimes Babylonian. Their 
own system of writing was pictographic, and they 
always used it for inscriptions on their monuments. 

Another important country was that known to the 
Babylonians as Amurru. Ic is often mentioned in the 
cuneiform inscriptions, and we have already seen that 
immigrants into Babylonia from Amumi founded the 
Ist Dynasty of Babylon (c. 2050). In the OT the name 
appears frequently in the form " Amorite." and to 
the Egyptians the district was kno-\vn as the " Land 
of Amor." The Amorites were of Semitic stock, and 
it is probable that they formed one section — the 
Canaanites of Palestine being another — of a great 
migration of Semites from Arabia, which seems to 
have taken place about 2500. While the Canaan- 
ites settled in Palestine, the Amorites occupied the 
region to the N. of Palestine and to the E. of Lebanon. 
Here they estalilished a number of independent states. 
We gather from the OT that branches of them also 
settled on the plateaux to the E., and in the hill country 
to the W^., of Jordan. For a time Amurru became 
subject to Egypt, but afterwards went over to the 
side of the growing Hittite kingdom. Later still 
the country was occupied by the Aramaeans, or 
Syrians. 

To the W. of Amurru, along the narrow strip of land 
between Lebanon and the Slediterranean, the Phce- 
nicians were situated. They were of Semitic stock, 
and of all the Semitic dialects theirs was the most 
closely related to the Hebrew. According to tradi- 
tion, their original home was on the N. shore of the 
Persian Gulf. When they entered their new country 
is as yet unknown. They were certainly there c. 2000. 
and it is po.ssible that they wore the descendants of 
invaders who formed one of the earliest waves of the 
migration to which the Canaanites and Amorites be- 
longed. If so, we must date the beginning of the 
nation about 2.500. The chief centres of Plicenician 
life were a number of cities situated on the coast. Of 
these, Arvad wa.s the oldest, but TjTe and Sidon early 
became the most important, now one, now the other, 
occupying the premier position. Most, if not all, of 
the cities formed small, independent kingdoms with 
a limited monarchy. The culture of the Phoenicians 
was largely borrowed. They had little originality, 
but were able to adapt and develop the inventions of 



54 



THE NATIONS CONTEMPORARY WITH ISRAEL 



othors. For oprfnin of tluir i)rodiict.iouB, sucli aa 
pmplo dye and metal working;, they were very famous ; 
but their reputation rests chielly upon the commerce 
which brouglit them into relations with the nations 
on all sides, and by meuns of which they amassed vast 
Wealth. The}' Were noted, too, for their shipbtiilding, 
and in navigation they were unsurpassed. They have 
often been credited with the invention of the alphabet, 
but this Ls unlikely. It is more probable that the 
alphabet originated in Crete, where the remains of a 
highly developed civilisation have been dLscovercd 
(p. .%). We know that, after the Cretan power was 
broken, c. 1400. a people of Cretan origin settled in 
S. Phcenicia. They probably brought the alphabet 
with them, and the Phoenicians, having adopted it 
themselves, through their far-extended commerce 
pa.s8ed it on to others. It is not surprising that a 
nation which Was so greatly devoted to commercial 
pursuits should have shown comparatively little liking 
for war ; and wo find that they Were generally ready 
to pay tribute m return for the privilege of carrj-ing 
on their commerce undisturbed. If necessary, how- 
over, they could olier an obstinate resistance to their 
foes, and Tyre especially has to her credit the endurance 
of several long and stubborn sieges. 

To return to Egypt : we saw above (p. .52) that the 
Hj'ksos established themselves, perhaps about 1800, in 
the eastern portion of the Delta, where they gradually 
extended their control over the whole of Egypt. Tlie 
mlc of the foreigners was hateful to the Egj'ptians, 
who did their best in after days to obliterate all traces 
of it. They succeeded so well that the period is the 
most obscure in Egyptian history. Towards the close 
of the seventeenth century, however, the strength of 
the Egyptians began to revive. The south was first 
delivered from Hyksos control, and then Aahmes, the 
founder of the XVlIIth Dynasty (c. 1580), drove the 
foreigners from the country, and Egypt was united 
once more under a native king. 

With the departure of the Hyksos a new spirit mani- 
fested itself in Egypt, and the period of the " First 
Empire " began. In the south the valuable province 
of Nubia was recovered by Amenophis I and Tlioth- 
mes I, the second and third kings of the dynasty ; 
and later kings both increased its extent and improved 
its organisation. Even more important were the 
results of a series of campaigns in Palestine and Syria. 
The Hyksos invasion, though it contributed nothing 
to Egyptian culture, had at least broken down for ever 
the barriers which separated Egypt from western Asia. 
Hitherto, apart from occasional military expeditions 
into Palestine, the intercourse between Egypt and 
other countries of the Near East had been of a com- 
mercial character. Now, however, circumstances 
combined to encourage the Egyptian kings to adopt a 
policy of aggression. On the ono hand, the expulsion 
of the Hyksos had put fresh energy into the nation, 
a strong anny had been created, and the use of the 
chariot had been learnt ; while, on the other hand, as 
we saw above, the comparative weakness of Babylonia 
under the Kassites brought about a diminution of her 
influence in the west. 

The first step towards the conquest of Palestine and 
Syria was taken by Thothmes I (c. 1539-1514), who 
made a successful raiding expedition as far as the 
Euphrates. These districts, however, though so easily 
overrun, wore not yet conquered. Nor did the Egyp- 
tians immediately follow up their initial success, and 
it was not until the twenty-second year of Thothmes 
III (c. 1601-1447) that the Syrian campaigns were 
renewed. Meanwhile a strong confederacy of Syrian 



states had been formed, with the Prince of Kadc;!!, 
on the Orontes. at its head. Against this confederacy 
Thothmes III set out in 1479, advancing without diffi- 
culty until ho came to where the NyriaJis Were gathered, 
with their headquarters at Megiddo (pp. 29f.). Here a 
fierce battle took place, in which the Egyptians were 
victorious. Megiddo itself soon fell, and pushing into 
Phoenicia, Thotlimes caj)tured a number of other towns. 
The Egyptian mastery of Syria was, however, not 
complete as long as the northern part of the country 
was unsubdued. Thothmes, therefore, gradually pre- 
pared the way bj' a series of annual campaigns against 
Phcenicia, and then, marching rapidly north-eastward, 
he pursued a victorious courac as far as Carche- 
mish on the Euphrates, where a decisive defeat was 
inflicted on his enemies. The conquest of Syria was 
completed in a subsequent campaign by the subjuga- 
tion of Kadesh, and Thothmes' authority over 
the regions W. of the Euphrates was generally recog- 
nised. 

Thothmes paid great attention to the organisation 
of his newly-wun province. From his Aimals and from 
the Amaru'a letters we learn what methods he adopted. 
Very wisely he allowed the different states to be ruled 
by native princes ; but, in order to secure a pro- 
Egyptian attitude, he took their sons to Egypt, where 
they both served as hostages for the good behaviour 
of their fathers, and were gradually filled with Egyp- 
tian ideals. But the native princes were not left 
entirely alone, even when thej' had been Egj^ptianised. 
Up and dowTi the country were located bodies of 
Egyptian troops who were ready to put down any in- 
surrection before it attained more than local influence. 
Moreover, the j)rinccs were kept under constant sur- 
veillance by Egyptian officials, whose business it waa 
to see to the regular transmission of tribute, and to 
exercise any necessary oversight of the native govern- 
ments. Tlie empire which Thothmes III had won was 
retained by his successors — Amenhct^^p II {c. 1447- 
1421), who even crossed the Euphrates and secured 
the king of Mitanni as a .subject-ally ; Thothmes IV 
(c. 142i-1412); and Amcnhetep III (c. 1412-1376). 
In the reign of the last-named, however, the power of 
Egypt began to decline, and her liold on SjTia was 
relaxed. The cause of this decline is not far to seek. 
The growth of the empire had been accompanied by 
a great development of commerce, which, with the 
tribute drawn from the dependent states, broiight much 
wealth into the country. With the growth of wealth 
there was a coiTcsponding increase of luxury, and, in 
the period of almost unbroken peace which followed 
the reign of Thothmes III, seeds of decaj' wore sowed 
which bore fniit in the da\'s of Amcnhetep IV, who 
came to the throne c. 1370. The riMgn of this king 
is made famous by a most astonishing religious refonn 
and its consequences. The source of the reform 
was the king himself, who declared that all the gods 
worshipped by the Egj*ptians were non-e.vistent, and 
that the only deity was the one who revealed himself 
through the " Aten," or sun-disc. Here we have 
monotheism of a very high order, for Amenhetcp 
worshipped not the sun-disc itself, but the power 
behind it. The decree went forth that the worship 
of the " Aten " was now to be the " establi.«!hed " 
worship of the country. The king changed his name 
to Akhenaton. which means " the glorious sun-disc," 
and built a new capital, called Akhetaten, to bo the 
centre of the promulgation of the new faith. The site 
of the now city is now occupied by the village of 
Tell el-Amama. The consequences of this reform were 
felt throughout the empire. In Egypt itself it was 



THE NATIONS CONTEMPORARY WITH ISRAEL 



55 



received with widespread indignation. Not only the 
priests of the old religion, but all other classes of 
society, regarded the change with hatred and alarm, 
and the loyalty of the people was strained to a degree 
which, during the latter part of the reign, reached 
breakiig-point. Moreover, there Was great unsettle- 
ment iii Syria and Palestine, where forces had been 
gradually developing which threatened to involve 
Egypt in the loss of the province which Thothmes III 
had striven so hard to win. Egypt needed above all 
things a ruler of great energy and ability ; but Amen- 
hetop was so completely absorbed in his new religion 
that he had no time to give to the administration of 
his empiie. 

The chief cause of the trouble in Syria was the growth 
of the Hittite power under Shubbiluliuma. Circum- 
stances here were favourable to an energetic leader. 
On the E. of the Euphrates was Mtanni, noW a subject- 
ally of Egypt. To the ^V. of Lebanon were the 
Phoenicians : they also wore loyal to Egypt, for to 
be so was to their commercial interest. Between 
these two peoples were tlie Amorites, subject, at 
present, to Egypt, but ever ready to revolt should the 
opportunity offer. As long as Egypt was strong it 
Was possible to keep the unruly elements in subjec- 
tion ; but when, during the latter part of Amenhetep 
Ill's reign, Egypt weakened, there Was afforded to 
Shubbiluliuma a splendid opportunity of stirring up 
dissension and profiting thereby. Shubbiluliuma set 
about the realisation of his ambitions very craftily. 
He impelled the Amorites, under their leader Abd- 
ashirta, to attack the Phoenician states, and as the latter, 
in spite of their frenzied appeals, some of which have 
survived in the Amama letters, received insufficient 
support from Egypt, they were forced, one by one, to 
renounce their allegiance to the Pharaoh. Mean- 
while, Shubbiluliuma was at liberty to carry out his 
plans behind the screen which the Amorites afforded. 
Crossing the Euphrates, he plundered the northern 
portion of Mitanni, and then retired into N. Syria, 
where he subdued a number of states. This much he 
accomplished during the reign of Amenhetep III. In 
the meantime the Amorites had been preparing the 
way for him further south. Their leader was now 
Aziru, the son of Abdashirta. He had been very 
successful in his attacks on Phoenicia, and became for 
a time the ruler of an Amorite kingdom which, though 
nominally subject to Egypt, was practically indepen- 
dent. Shubljiluliuma now attacked and defeated 
Aziru, and thus gained control of the greater part of 
Syria and Phoenicia. Finally, he subdued ititanni, 
which had been still further weakened by internal 
dissensions and by an AssjTian invasion. He also 
gained control of a large part of Asia Minor, and 
possibly campaigned as far westward as the ^Egean. 
As yet, however, We have no detailed knowledge of 
his achievements in this direction. Shubbiluliuma 
was now the most powerful monarch in W. Asia. 
Assyria and Babylonia were mdcpcndent, but they 
stood in awe of the great conqueror, and treated him 
with respect. Egj'pt had fallen into a condition of 
weakness. Not only had she lost Syria and Phoenicia, 
but Palestine had been invaded by Aramajan tribes, 
with whom certain of the Canaanite princes made 
common cause, though for some time, in spite of the 
anxious warnings of Abd-khiba, the governor of 
Jerusalem, they succeeded in deceiving Amenhetep FV 
with a&suranccH of loyalty. When the Egj'ptian court 
at last awoke to a recognition of the tme state of affairs 
and sent help, it was too late, and Palestine also was 
lost. Thus bgj'pt was deprived of the whole of tho 



valuable province which Thothmes III had won and 
organised at so great a cost. 

Much of our knowledge of the period covered by the 
reigns of Amenhetep III and IV is derived from the 
tablets of Boghaz-keui and of Tell el-Amama. Tho 
latter, nearly three hundred in number, were dis- 
covered in A.D. 1887, and, like those from Boghaz-keui, 
are written in the Babylonian script and language. 
Some of them contain letters to the Pharaoh from the 
kings of neighbouring countries — Babylonia, Assyria, 
Mitanni, Alashiya (Cyprus ?), and the Hittites ; ' but 
most of them are reports or letters from native princes 
and Egyptian officials in Syria and Palestine. 

Very interesting is the mention in some of these 
letters of certain Semitic tribes, who had invaded 
Palestine and caused great disturbance in the country. 
The name of one of the tribes or groups of tribes, 
IChabiri, is very similar to the name " Hebrew," and 
some authorities find in the allusions to them in these 
letters the counterpart of the Biblical account of the 
Hebrew invasion of Palestine. The question is, how- 
ever, still under discussion (p. 34). 

The invaders came from Arabia, like the Canaanites 
and Amorites before them, and formed part of what 
is generally known as the Aramoan migration, the 
beginning of which may be dated about the middle 
of the second millennium b.c. The tribes involved 
in this movement spread in different directions. Some 
of them settled on the borders of Assyria and Baby- 
lonia, where they often proved to be troublesome 
neighbours ; while a large number of them gradually 
made their way into Syria, either absorbing or driving 
out their Amorite and Hittite predecessors, until the 
greater part of Syria Was in their hands. They estab- 
lished a number of independent Idngdoms, of which 
DamasciLS early became the wealthiest and most 
powerful. Like the Phoenicians, they developed into 
a great commercial people. The trade routes between 
the east and the west passed through their territory, 
and the Aramaean merchants, taking full advantage 
of their opportunity, accumulated great wealth. Id. 
the days of the Assyrian empire much of this wealth 
passed, in the form of tribute, into the treasuries of 
the Assyrian kings. YeX, the Aramaeans did not readily 
submit to the Assyrians. Unlike the Phoenicians, they 
were good soldiers, and resisted for a long time the 
attempts of a succession of Assyrian kings to subdue 
Syria. The kingdom of Israel foimd Damascus a 
very dangerous neighbour, and suffered many humilia- 
tions at her hands. 

The reign of Ame»hetep IV closed about 1362. He 
left Egj^it in a chaotic condition, and stripped of much 
of her wealth ; and to his successors there fell the task 
of attempting her restoration. Before any serious 
attempt could be made, however, to recover Palestine 
and Syria, it was necessary to set affairs at home in 
order. Little time was lost in abolishing Aten worship 
and restoring that of Amen ; and imder Horemhcb, 
the last king of the djnasty, the reorganisation of tho 
country was quickly carried out. No effort, hov/ever, 
was made to regain the lost provinces, and Shubbilu- 
liuma actually secured a treaty confirming him in the 
possession of Syria. 

On the death of Horcmheb a new djniasty (the 
XlXth) began. With the second king, Set'i I (r. 1320- 
1300), Egypt entered upon the task of establishing 
her " Second Empire." and there began a scries of 
attempts to regain Palestine and SjTna. Seti made a 
good beginning. Having recovered Palestine and a 
large part of Phoenicia in his first year, he marched in 
his fourth year into Syria, and defeated the Hittites 



5G 



THE NATIONS CONTEMPORARY WITH ISRAEL 



ill tlie iH'ighbouihood of Kadcsh. Mursil, the son of 
yhubbiluliunia, Was now king of the Hittites, and a 
trcjity was made between him and Seti by which S. 
Syria was recognised as ICgyptian territory. Thus 
Egypt regained a large, and that the most profitable, 
part of her lost provinces. Even more important was 
the restoration of her prestige. Scti's successor, 
Rameses II, resolved to try to break the power of the 
Hittites, who were still in possession of the greater 
part of the empire which iShubbiiuliuma had won. 
Early in his reign, therefore, he invaded S^Tia, and the 
Hittites suffered a second defeat at Kadcsh. The 
victory seems, however, to have been a costly affair 
for tlie Egj'plians. for Rameses did not follow it up, 
nur (lid he gain from it any substantial political ad- 
vantage. Mur-sil died, and his successor, Mutallu, was 
a vigorous king, who stirred vip a revolt in Palestine 
so serious that Rameses had to reconquer the country. 
Rameses then jjushecl forward right into N. Syria, but 
without gaining any peniianent results; and when 
Khattusil, Mursil's brother, came to the Hittite throne, 
Rameses readily agreed to the new king's overtures 
for peace (c. 1280). A treaty was drawn up, of which 
the hierogh-phic ven;ion has been preserved at Kamak 
and jiart. of the cuneiform version among the tablets 
of Boghaz-keui. It is a long and carefully executed 
document, in which previous treaties are renewed, a 
defensive alliance concluded, and provision made for 
the extradition of fugitive subjects of either Power. 
The greater part of Syria remained under the control 
of the Hittites. while Egypt was confirmed in her 
possession of Phoenicia and Palestine. Owing, doubt- 
less, to the exhaustion of the two empires, tliis treaty 
was followed by a long peace, and the peoples of Syria 
and Palestine enjoyed, for a period, freedom from the 
disturbance caused by the movements of the Egyptian 
and Hittite armies. Eriendly relations Were con- 
tinued by Khattusil's succes.sors, Dudklialia and 
Arnuanta, the latter, who ascended the throne about 
1225, being the last Hittite king whose name is known 
to us. Early in the next centurj' the Hittite empire 
^^-as broken up. 

Rarnescs II died about 1234, and was succeeded by 
^Icneptah. His reign was short and disturbed. On 
the west he had to meet an invasion of Libyans, who 
had already made an unsuccessful attack on Egypt 
in the reign of Rameses II, and were now making a 
second attemjjt to enter tlie Delta. This time they 
had the support of certain Jletiitcrranean tribes, called 
by the Egj^jtians " Peoples of the Sea," about whom 
more ■w'ill be said below ; but thej- were again severely 
defeated and driven off. On the east he had to put 
down a rebellion in Palestine. The inscription which 
records the quelling of this lebellion is of special 
interest, because, among a number of Palestinian names, 
there appears the name " Ysiraal." which is usually 
identified with Israel. If the identification be accepted, 
it would seem tliat at least some of the Israelites were 
already in Palestine. We may also recall, in this con- 
nexion, the suggested identification of " Khabiri " and 
" Hebrews." 

The death of Meneptah (c. 1225) was followed by a 
])eriod of confusion which lasted till the time of 
Rameses III, the second king of the XXth Dynasty, 
who came to the throne about 1204. Rame.ses ill 
reigned for alwut thirty-two years, and ho effected a 
temporary restoration of the wealth of Egypt and a 
partial recovery- of her power. During the earlier part 
of his reign he had to meet attacks from the west and 
from the north. The western attack was made in his 
fifth year by the Libyans and their allies, the Sea- 



peoples, but, as before, it was beaten back ; the 
attack from the north was made some three yoare 
later. The invaders, who Were again tribes of the 
Sea-peoples, advanced Ixith by land — through Asia 
Minor and Syria — and by sea. In the course of their 
landward advance they helped to deal the final blow 
at the Hittite empire, which Was already tottering, and 
did much damage in Syria. They seem to have 
marched as far as the border of Egypt. Rameses, 
however, defeated them both on sea and on land, and 
they retired northward. 

These tribes fonned part of a great movement of 
Mediterranean peoples which began about the end of 
the fifteenth century B.C. with the break-up of the 
power of Crete. This island was long the centre of a 
highly developed civilisation, the beginnings of which 
may be placed somewhere in the fourth millennium 
B.C. Unfortunately, the Cietan script, which, like 
those of Egypt and Babylonia, was of jiictographic 
origin, has not yet been deciphered, and our knowledge 
of Cretan development is derived almost entirely from 
the remains of the different branches of their art 
which exploration has brought to light. \\Tiile the.se 
remains teach us little about the political and religious 
history of Crete, they show that on the material side 
Cretan culture was equal, and in some respects superior, 
to that of Egypt or Mesopotamia. About 1400 Crete 
was invaded, her capital, Knossos, destroyed, and her 
power broken. This disaster was the chief cause of 
the disturbance of peoples which affected N. Africa, 
Asia Minor, and Syria. 

The invasion which Rameses III repelled in his 
eighth j'car has a special interest for the student of 
the OT, because one of the tribes involved in it bore 
the name " Pulasati," which closely resembles the 
Hebrew " Pelishtim," or Philistines. It will be re- 
membered that in Am. 97 the Philistmes are said to 
have come from " Caphtor," which, if correctly identi- 
fied ^vith the Egj-ptian " Kef tin," probably denotes 
the island of Crete (c/. Jer. 474). In another group of 
passages (2 S. 818, 1 K. I38, &c.) mention is made of the 
bodyguard of Pelethites — a variant of Pelishtim — and 
Cherethites which Was maintained by the early Hebrew 
kings ; and with these passages should be compared 
others (Ezek. 25i6, Zeph. 25), in which the Cherethites 
are connected with Philistia. In 2 K. 114,19, again, 
we read of " Carites " (Carians) as forming part of the 
palace-guard. On further consideration it appears 
that all these names have connexions with lands to 
the W. of Palestine. The Carians occupied the SW. 
comer of Asia Minor ; the Pelethites or Pelishtim were 
the descendants of the Pulasati. who, whatever their 
original home, came from Asia Minor into Syria ; and 
the ancestors of the Clieretiiites came, in all proba- 
bility, from Crete. We may a.'^ume, then, that the 
Philistines of the OT were a group of tribes, some of 
whom came from Asia Minor and others from Crete, 
and that the name of tlie leading tribe— the Pulasati — 
was in time employed to denote the whole group. 
They must have established themselves in the southern 
part of the maritime plain soon after the death of 
Rameses III (c. 1172), taking advantage of the weak- 
ness of the kings who succeeded him. In the choice 
of their new home tliey were doubly fortunate ; for 
the fertility of Philistia is great, and, afi the caravan 
routes between Egypt and the east passed through 
their territory, they liad exceptional opportunities for 
commercial development.. 

Our knowledge of their culture is far from complete, 
but Iho old idea that they were barbarians has been 
dispelled for ever by the discovery of examples of their 



THE NATIONS CONTEMPORARY WITH ISRAEL 



57 



workmanship on the sites of Gaza, Bethshemesh, and 
Gezer. From these it appears, indeed, that their 
artistic skill had to a certain extent degenerated during 
the period of their wanderings, but there is no doubt 
that the civilisation of Canaan benefited by their 
advent. It is not unlikely that the Philistines were 
the first to introduce iron into Palestine. If so, we 
may be sure that they would retain the monopoly of 
this valuable metal as long as possible (c/. 1 S. 1.3 19-2 3) ; 
and we can readily understand how, by employing it 
for their weapons,*they were able to gain the mastery 
of their neighbours (pp. 257f.). 

The latter part of Rameses Ill's reign Was spent in 
peace, except for certain internal troubles ; but the 
revival of Egypt's power during his reign was only 
temporary, and after his death, if not before, her hold 
on Palestine was entirely relaxed. The results of 
exploration show how great was the internal weakness 
of Egypt at this time. Many unhealthy influences had 
been introduced by the large number of foreigners 
who liad entered the country ; art and literature had 
deteriorated both in conception and in execution ; 
and the power of the priests of Amen, whose wealth 
had been increasing ever since the time of Thothmes 
III, had become dangerously great. During the 
reigns of Rameses Ill's successors, who were weak 
kings, the priests became the real rulers of the country, 
and the authority of the kings of the XXIst Dynasty 
was limited to the Delta, with Tanis as their capital. 
Thus Egypt's " Second Empire " came to an end. 

The influence of Egypt on Palestine, though far less 
than that of Babylonia, was considerable. It began 
long before the establishment of the empire in the 
sixteenth century, for the early Pharaohs encouraged 
commerce with foreign countries, and in their time 
many of the valuable products of Egypt must have 
been imported into Palestine. The worship of Egyp- 
tian deities, such as Amen, Osiris, Ptah, and Isis, was 
also introduced, especially into S. Palestine, where 
Egyptians seem to have settled as early as the time 
of the Xllth Dynasty (c. 2000). After Palestine be- 
came part of the empire, Egyptian influence must have 
become much greater, owing to the increase of diplo- 
matic and commercial intercourse, and owing to the 
presence in the country of Egyptian governors and 
their suites. Thus Egypt contributed her share to- 
wards the preparation of Palestine for the advent of 
Israel. It is to be noted, however, that there is nothing 
of Egyptian origin in the OT corresponding to the 
Creation and Deluge stories, which, as we have seen, 
were probably derived from Babylonian sources. 

III. The Assyrian Period.— Our knowledge of 
Assyrian history for some four centuries after the 
Kassite invasion of Babj'-lonia is verj' scanty. At 
first, the only direction in which she could expand 
was northward : to the west and south the way 
of advance was barred by Mitanni and Babylonia. 
Eventually the power of Mitanni was broken by the 
Hittites ; but Babylonia remained to the last a 
troublesome, and sometimes a dangerous, neighbour. 

It was about the middle of the fourteenth century 
B.C. that Assyria entered on her career, the goal of 
which was the establishment of her supremacy over 
the greater part of Nearer Asia. In the prosecution 
of this object her armies campaigned in all directions, 
but there were two regions in particular over which 
the As-syrian kings strove to win. and to retain, 
supremacy. The one was Babylonia : she never 
forgot, nor allowed others to ff>rget, her former great- 
ness, the memory of which, together with the influence 
of her ancient civilisation nnd the religious authority 



of the priests of Babylon, counted for much in Assyria. 
The control of Babylonia, therefore, not only secured 
Assyria's southern frontier, but added greatly to the 
prestige of the kings who exercised it. The other 
region included Syria and Palestine : here were the 
wealthy Aramaean and Phoenician states, the two 
Hebrew kingdoms, and the important cities of Phil- 
istia, all of which the kings of Assyria found to be rich 
sources of tribute. 

Four periods of expansion may be distinguished. 
With these there alternated an equal number of 
periods of weakness and shrinkage, from each of the 
first three of which Assyria revived to push her con- 
quests further than ever before, while the fourth ended 
in her downfall. 

The first period of expansion began c. 1350, and 
lasted for nearly a century. Several kings, notably 
Shalmaneser I (c. 1300-1275), taking advantage of 
Mitauni's overthrow, campaigned westward as far as 
the Euphrates, and brought the territory up to Car- 
chemish within the Assyrian sphere of influence. 
Beyond the Euphrates, however, they did not go : 
the Hittites were, as yet, too strong. Babylonia, too, 
during the greater part of this period, was under 
Assyrian control; and, at last, Tukulti-Ninib I 
(c. 1275-1260) actually occupied the throne of Babylon, 
holding it till his death. 

For about a century after Tukulti-Ninib's reign the 
history of Assyria is obscure. It was a time of great 
disturbance in the Nearer East. First there was the 
great movement of peoples which broke up the Hittite 
empire and brought the Philistines to Palestine ; and 
a little later the Mushki (OT Meshech) came into Asia 
Minor from their home in the neighbourhood of the 
Caucasus. In the general unsettlement caused by 
these invasions Assyria lost her hold on W. and NW. 
Mesopotamia ; Babylonia recovered her independence ; 
and the authority of the kings of Asshur was confined 
within the natural limits of their kingdom. 

We see the first clear signs of recovery in the reign 
of Ashur-resh-ishi (c. 1145-1120) ; and his son, Tiglath- 
pileser I (c. 1120-1100), one of Assjnia's greatest 
kings, carried the revival to its highest point. He 
conquered N. Babylonia, drove the Mushki from 
Mesopotamia, and in his raiding and tribute-gathering 
expeditions penetrated westward across N. Syria to 
the Mediterranean, far into the mountainous regions 
on the north-west and north, and eastward to a point 
beyond the Lower Zab. He did not establish an 
" empire," but he made Assyrian influence felt beyond 
all pre\'ious limits. After Tiglath-pileser's death, 
however, Assyria again fell on evil days. Arabian 
tribes belonging to the " Aramaean migration " occu- 
pied much of her Mesopotamian territory, and also 
overran Babylonia. 

We may note that the Hebrews now established 
their monarchy, and built up the kingdom of David 
(c. 1000-975) and Solomon (c. 975-937). Political 
conditions in W. Asia at this time were almost entirely 
favourable to their enterprise. Of their nearer neigh- 
bours, only the Philistines were really dangerous ; 
Moab and Ammon were not strong enough to check 
their development, and the Aramaean states to the 
north were still occupied in secjiring their own posi- 
tions. Moreover, on looking further afield, we sec 
that there was no dominant power in the Nearer East 
at this time. The Hittite empire was broken for ever ; 
and of the other three kingdoms — Egypt, Babylonia, 
and Assyria — which at one time or another had gained 
the supremacy, none was at present strong enough 
to continue the raiding campaigns of former days. 



58 



THE NATIONS CONTEMPOEARY WITH ISRAEL 



Biibyionia was not deetined again to attain to the 
dignity of " empire " until the time of the " Chal- 
ilioan " dynasty (G25-538) ; while Egypt, after a 
brief and partial revival in the latter part of the tenth 
century under Sheshenk I (OT Shishak.c. 947-925 ; cf. 
I K. 1425*. p. 71), asuecesHful Libyan soldier who csta I >- 
lishod the XXIInd Dynasty, lapsed into inactivity till 
the second half of the eighth century B.C. 

With Assyria, however, it was different. She had 
plenty of recuperative power, and shortly before 
IKKJ B.C. she entered upon her third period of expan- 
sion (c. 911-782), during which her armies campaigned 
further than ever before, especially westward, and she 
had to meet three new inon — the Clialdaeans, the 
Medes, and Urartu. The kings of the period were 
Adad-nirari III (911-890). Tukuiti-Ninib II (890- 
88.')), Ashur-natsir-pal III (8a'>-8()0). Shalmaneser III 
(860-82.-)), Shamshi-Adad VII (823-811), and Adad- 
nirari IV (811-782). 

At the outset the two most serious barriers to As- 
syria's progress were Babylonia and the Aramseans of 
\V. Mesopotamia. The resisting power of Babylonia 
had been increased by the advent of the Chaldmans. 
These people, like the Amorites, Aramteans, and others, 
were Semitic immigrants from Arabia, who had estab- 
lished themselves at the head of the Persian Gulf, 
and who from this time onwards were a constant source 
of annoyance to Assyria. Adad-nirari III made a 
good begiiming against the southern kingdom by twice 
defeating her king ; but it was not till the reign of 
Shalmaneser III that Assyria's suzerainty over Baby- 
lonia was definitely estaVjlished (c. 852). The Aramaeans 
were subdued by Tukulti-Ninib II and Ashur-natsir-pal 
III, and Shalmaneser III had little trouble with them. 

Eastward. Ashur-natsir-pal and Shalmaneser made 
many expeditions, partly against the tribes on As- 
syria's ea.stem frontier, but specially against the 
Medes. These people, who were of Aiyan stock, lived 
formerly in the east of Iran, the vast plateau between 
the Tigris and the Indus. Some time before the ninth 
century B.C. they migrated into W. Iran, and there 
they settled, having at first no central government, 
but divided into numerous separate principalities. 
Ashur-natsir-pal and Shalmaneser saw clearly the 
necessity of preventing the Medes from passing the 
Zagros range, and in this they succeeded ; but they 
accomplished no pennancnt subjugation of this eastern 
foe. The same two kings had to deal with another 
danger which threatened from the north. Here, N. 
of Lake Van, the strong kingdom of Urartu had grown 
up, and was seeking to extend its influence over the 
tril)e8 between Lake Urmia and the Euphrates. 
Ashur-natsir-pal and Shalmaneser kept these tribes 
in order by frequent raiding campaigns ; and Shal- 
maneser, by several invasions of Urartu, checked her 
progress for a time. Like the Medes, however, Urartu 
was not permanently subdued, and later kings of Assyria 
found her to be a dangerous and stubborn enemy. 

The first king of the period to lead his forces across 
the Euphrates was Asluir-natRir-pal, who in the tenth 
campaign of his reign marched through N. Syria to 
the Phoenician coast, receiving tribute from a number 
of Syrian and Phoenician princes. Shalmaneser 
crossed the Euphrates frequently. His main object 
was tf) conquer S. Syria, and presumably' Palestine 
also. In this, however, he did not succeed. His first 
three attempts, made in S54 (when the battle of 
Qarqar t-ook place), 849, and 840, were checked by a 
confederacy of states, including Dama.scus, which was 
at the head, and Israel. When he made his fourth 
attempt (in 842), the confederates failed to rally to- 



gether against him, and most of the local nilers, Jehn 
of Israel amongst them, sent him tribute. But 
Damascus, under Hazael, made a vigorous resistance, 
and neither then nor three years later did it yield to 
the Assyrian forces. Wliile, however, he failed to 
sulxlue S. Syria, the N. Syrian states were at his mercy, 
and, together with the Phoenicians, provided plentiful 
tribute. He also subdued Que (Cilicia), Tabal, and 
Malatia, and thus gained for Assyria control of the 
important trade-route into Asia Minor. 

The last four years of Shalmaneser's reign were 
darkened by a revolt led by one of his sons, and it 
was not till the third year of Shamshi-Adad VII that 
internal harmony was restored. This revolt weakenexl 
Assyria's authority over the surrounding districts, but 
Shamshi-Adad recovered most, if not the whole, of 
the lost ground everywhere except on the W. of the 
Euphrates. The next king, Adad-nirari IV, not only 
retained what his predecessor had Won back, but also 
cro.ssed the Euphrates and made Assjiian influence 
felt beyond the limits reached by Shalmaneser III, 
even as far as N. Philistia and Edom. Damascus he 
reduced to a condition of vassalage, and Babylonia 
became practically an Assyrian province. !Adad- 
nirari's death marks the close of the third period of 
expansion. The six kings whose reigns we have sur- 
veyed were all strong and capable leaders, but their 
achievements must not be exaggerated. It is, indeed, 
most instmctive to note how lacking in permanence 
was Assyria's hold on much of the territory overrun 
by her armies. Babylonia acknowledged the Assyrian 
supremacy only under compulsion ; the tribes in the 
eastern mountains were restless, submitting only when 
armies were sent against them ; Urartu had merely been 
checked for a time, and her growing power was one of 
the chief causes of the weakness into which Assyria 
now fell ; while even westward there was, as yet, no 
permanent conquest of tci-ritory beyond the Euphrates, 
and many campaigns were required before the states 
of Syria and Palestine were completely crushed. 

As at the close of the second period of Assyrian ex- 
pansion, Fo now again, tiie Hebrews took advantage of 
their freedom from external pressure. They had been 
greatly weakened by the division of the kingdom, and 
by the mutual jealousies and hostilities which resulted 
from it. Moreover. Judah, and to some extent Israel, 
must have been impoverished by Sheshenk'e raid. 
But more serious still, especially for the Northern 
Kingdom, though Judah did not entirely escape, had 
been the rise of the Aramaean state of Damascus. 
From the days of Baasha. for about one hundred years, 
wars between Damascus and Israel were frequent, 
with results generally adverse to the latter (2 K. 
(S2.\~l2o, 137,22, 1426f.). Now. however, the power 
of Damascus was broken, and under the contemporary 
kings Jeroboam II and Uzziah, Israel and Judah 
enjoyed remarkable prosperity. They were not, how- 
ever, allowed to enjoy it long, for in 745 AssjTia entered 
on her fourth period of expansion. 

Tlie period covers the reigns of six kings — Tiglath- 
pileser IV (74.5-727), Shalmaneser V (727-722), Sargon 
II (722-705). Sennacherib (70.5-681), Esarhaddon 
(681-668), and Ashur-bani-pal (668-626)— under whom 
Assyria's military activities were more intense and 
more widely extende<l than ever before. Tiglath- 
pileser IV was a successful soldier who gained the 
throne through a military revolution. The third 
king, Sargon II. was also a usui-per, and Sennacherib, 
the fourth of the series, was murdered ; but neither 
Sargon 's usiirpation nor Sennacherib's murder seems 
seriously to have affected Assyria's progress. 



THE NATIONS CONTEMPORARY WITH ISRAEL 



59 



Tiglath-pilcser reasserted Assjnria's supremacy over 
Babylonia early in his reign, and for the greater part 
of the period she was niled by tlio reigning king of 
Assyria or by his nominee. There were, however, 
intervals of varying duration during which the southern 
kingdom rebelled against Assyrian control. Part of 
the responsibility for these rebellions rests upon the 
native Babylonians, who hated the domination of 
Assyria. Sennacherib was so greatly exasperated by 
their behaviour that ho carried the Assyrian policy 
of suppression to an extreme pomt by the destruction 
of Babylon. His son, Esar-haddon, sought to con- 
ciliate them by rebuilding the capital, and in other 
ways ; but they revolted again (652) in the reign of 
Ashur-bani-pal, who had to besiege and capture 
Babylon before the revolt was crushed (648). 

Probably the Babylonians would not have been so 
troublesome had it not been for the Chaldaeans and 
Elamitos. They repeatedly invaded Babylonia, and 
all the kings of the period, excepting, perhaps, Shal- 
maneser V, had more or less trouble with one or both 
of these persistent foes. During the first twelve 
years of Sargon II's reign, for instance, the Chaldaeans 
were in possession of Babylonia ; and from 700 to 
689 Sennacherib was involved in a long struggle with 
them and their Elamite allies. More than once the 
coinitry of the Chaldajans was devastated, and they 
themselves driven across the Tigris ; but they were 
never permanently crushed, and on the death of 
Ashur-bani-pal (626) they regamed control of Baby- 
lonia. The attacks of the Elamites began in the reign 
of Sargon, and persisted until they received a final 
blow at the hands of Ashur-bani-pal, who sacked their 
capital, Susa, and devastated their country (644). 
Their overthrow was not, however, wholly to the 
advantage of Assjrria, for it involved the breaking 
down of a useful barrier against the Medes. 

The last-named people the Assyrians were never 
wholly able to subdue. Tiglath-pileser, indeed, held 
them in check, and Sargon claims to have extended 
Assyrian supremacy as far eastward as the Caspian ; 
but no complete or permanent control seems to have 
been established beyond the Zagros range. The 
eastern peril was increased at the beginning of Esar- 
haddon's reign by the arrival of the Gimirrai, barbarian 
hordes who foi some time had been moving south- 
wards through the passes of the Caucasus. North of 
Urartu the Gimirrai split into two parts, one of which 
travelled westward into Asia Minor, while the other 
moved south-eastward, and, uniting eventually with 
the Mannai and the Medes, threatened Assyria. Esar- 
haddon was able, partly b}' force and partly by diplo- 
macy, to check the combination, and Ashur-bani-pal 
subdued the Maimai. The latter king also gained 
some successes against the Medes ; but the establish- 
ment of their monarchy in the first half of the seventh 
century, by bringing the separate principalities under 
central control, added greatly to their strength, and 
put an end to Assyria's chance of subduing them. 

On the north the power of Urartu had developed 
considerably during the period of Assyria's weakness, 
and under Sarduris III her influence had extended far 
beyond the natural limits of the country. Sarduris 
had even assumed the title of king of Syria. Tiglath- 
pileser lost no time in attacking this northern foe, and 
m the second year of his reign ho drove the Urartians 
from N. Syria. By 738 he had reduced the N. Syrian 
states to submission, and m 735 ho invaded Urartu 
and ravaged the country from end to end. By these 
campaigns he restored the authority of Assyria over 
the north, and as north-westward as Cilicia. Urartu, 



however, soon recovered. In the reign of Sargon she 
and the kingdom of Mushki fomented rebellion amongst 
the vassal states of Assyria in their neighbourhood, 
and it cost Sargon ten years of hard campaigning to 
reduce the two kingdoms and to restore Assyria's 
authority over her rebellious vassals. Apart from a 
disturbance in Cilicia caused by an invasion of lonians, 
but quickly checked by Sennacherib's forces, and an 
inroad of Gimirrai from the north-west which Esar- 
haddon's generals beat back, this part of the empire 
seems to have remained fairly tranquil, at least until 
640, when records cease. 

We come finally to the west, the quarter in which 
Assyria made most progress, and where in her desire 
to secure complete control she at last overreached 
herself through the attempt to subdue Egypt. 

The western operations began in 734, when the 
Syro-Ephraimitic coalition (2 K. I65) gave Tiglath- 
pileser an excuse for interfering with the states of 
S. Syria and Palestine. For Assyria the campaign 
was higldy successful : Damascus, which had for so 
long been the leader in all anti-Assyrian movements, 
was captured, and ma^iy of her hihabitants were carried 
into captivity (732) ; Israel was stripped of the 
northern portion of her territory ; and most, if not 
all, of the other western states, including Judah, 
where Ahaz was king, became tributary. In the reign 
of Shalmaneser V a further step was taken towards 
the reduction of the west. The occasion was provided 
by the renewed interference of Egypt in Palestine. 
About 728 Piankhi, a Nubian, had made himself 
master of Egjrpt and established the XXVth Dynasty. 
His son Shabaka (OT So, or, more correctly, Seve), 
who was his commander-in-chief, aimed at recovering 
Syria and Palestine for Egypt. Accordingly he en^ 
couraged the king of Tyre and Hoshea of ferael to 
revolt (2 K. I74). The revolt was quickly crushed. 
Tyre yielded at once, and though Samaria held out 
for two years, no help came from Egypt, and the fall 
of the city took place, shortly after the death of Shal- 
maneser, in 722. The southern half of the kingdom 
of Israel now became, like the northern half twelve 
years before, a part of the Assyrian empire. Early 
in Sargon's reign a number of western states rebelled 
again at Egypt's instigation ; but he soon restored 
Assyrian authority by two victories — the first over 
the rebels at Qarqar, and the second, immediately 
afterwards, over the Egyptians under Shabaka at 
Raphia (c. 720). Sargon also sent successful expedi- 
tions against N. Arabia (715 B.C.) and against Ashdod 
(711 ; cf. Is. 20i''). In 703, owing to the persuasions 
of the Chaldsean chieftain, Merodach-baladan (2 K. 
20i2flf.), on the one hand, and of Eg3'pt on the other, 
Phoenicia and Palcstme wore again in revolt. As soon 
as possible Seimacherib marched westward (701). 
He quickly subdued Phcenicia, and then, advancing 
southwards, defeated a confederate army at Eltekeh, 
and ravaged Judah, exacting a heavy tribute from 
Hezekiah. Esarhaddon secured afresh the submission 
of the western states by the capture of Sidon, which 
at the instigation of Tirhakah, king of Egypt, had 
withheld its tribute. 

Now began the momentous operations against 
Egypt — momentous not so much for Egypt a« for 
AssjTia, since, by overstraining her resources, they 
contributed largely to her downfall. Yet it must be 
remembered that the Assyrian kuigs were naturally 
anxious to put an end to Egyptian machinations, 
which since the time of Shalmaneser IV had been 
mainly responsible for the disturbances in the western 
province of her empire. 



60 



THE NATIONS CONTEMPORARY WITH ISRAEL 



Eearhaddon planned three campaigns against Egypt. 
The first (674) was a failure. The second, undertaken 
in 672, resulted in the establishment of Assyrian 
suzerainty, and its maintenance for about a year. 
The third campaign he did not complete, for he died 
on the march, but Ashur-bani-pal carried it to a suc- 
cessful issue. It was not, however, till 661 that all 
resistance was crushed, and that Egypt became an 
Assyrian province, in which position she remained for 
about ten years, with Psammetichus, an Egj^tian 
prince, as viceroy. The subjugation of Egypt was 
followed by the siege and surrender of Tyre, and by 
the renewed submission of other western states. At 
this point in her history (c. 660) the empire of Assyria 
reached its widest limits, and the fact that Gyges of 
Lydia, being hard pressed by the Gimirrai, now ap- 
pealed to Ashur-bani-pal for help, shows how great 
was the respect in which she was held by other 
nations. 

AssjTia was not destined, however, to occupy this 
proud position for very long. Ashur-bani-pal was her 
last great king — his two successors are little more than 
names to us — and it is significant that from about 
640 records of his reign cease, probably because there 
were no achievements to record. The last j)eriod of 
decline, indeed, set in some time before Ashur-bani- 
pal 's death. 

It must be remembered that the Assyrian empire 
was founded by force, and, speaking generally, only 
force was employed to keep it together. The As- 
syrians never mastered the art of colonising, and they 
made little or no attempt to understand the peoples 
whom they subdued. Their usual method of dealing 
with conquered countries was to carry away a large 
part of the inhabitants into captivity. Tiglath- 
pileser I, indeed, speaks of making the peoples under 
his sway " of one tongue," and Ashur-natsir-pal III 
placed Assyrian colonists in certain conquered cities ; 
while Tiglath-pileser IV devised the plan of filling the 
place of those whom he removed from one district 
with a batch of captives from another. This last 
method was certainly an improvement, in some re- 
spects, on those of previous kings. It diminished, 
though, as history shows, it by no means did away 
with, the possibility of rebellion ; but it was fatal to 
the prosperity of regions already plundered by invading 
armies and burdened with tribute, and it caused a 
serious lowering of the level of culture in the conquered 
countries. There are signs that Esarhaddon -and 
Ashur-bani-pal had more enlightened ideas, but they 
could not undo the harm w'rought by their predecessors. 
The empire was already doomed, and as soon as the 
line of strong and capable kings came to an end it 
quickly fell to pieces. 

The decline of Assyria began with the revolt of Egypt 
under Psammetichus, who now established the XXVIth 
Dj-nasty (c. 650). Ashur-bani-pal made no attempt 
to restore Assyria's authority, and the occurrence is 
not mentioned in his annals. Egypt now entered on 
a period of prosperity greater than she had enjoyed 
for many centuries. 

The next loss suffered by Assyria was inflicted by 
the Scythians, a wild and barbarous people whose 
home was north of the Crimea, and who for some time 
had been moving southwards. The invasion of the 
Gimirrai, mentioned above, was caused by the pres- 
sure which they had exerted from the north, and 
c. 630 they themselves poured into W. Asia. One 
body of them swept through Syria and advanced as 
far as Ashkelon, where they were checked by Psam- 
metichus, and after a long struggle were either de- 



stroyed or driven out of the country. Through this 
invasion Assyria lost control of Syria and Palestine. 

These misfortunes befell Assyna before the end of 
the reign of Ashur-bani-pal. After his death (626) 
she soon lost Babylonia, for Nabopolassar proclauned 
himself king in Babylon, and gradually gained control 
of the whole country. Thus the " Chaldaean," or 
" Neo-Babylonian " empire, of which more will be 
said below, was founded. 

The final blow at Assyria was struck by the Medee, 
whose monarchy was established, as we have seen, 
in the first half of the seventh century. The first 
king of whom we have historical records is Phraortes 
(c. 647-626). He controlled not only the princes of 
Media, but also those of Persia, and made an unsuc- 
cessful invasion of Assyria. His son and successor, 
Cyaxares, renewed the attack shortly after his father's 
death, but was obliged to relinquish it owing to an 
invasion of Media by the Scj-thians. A third attempt 
was made c. 607-606, possibly with the assistance of 
the Scythians, and \vith the approval, if not with the 
active support, of Babylonia, and Nineveh was cap- 
tured and destroyed. The satisfaction with which the 
peoples whom Assjrria had so long and so cruelly 
oppressed welcomed her overthrow finds expression in 
the concluding words of Nahum's prophecy (819): 
" There is no assuaging of thy hurt ; thy wound is 
grievous ; all that hear the bruit of thee clap the 
hands over thee ; for upon whom hath not thy wicked- 
ness passed continually ? " 

rV. The Chaldaean Period. — The empire of Assyria 
was divided between the Medes and the Babylonians. 
The Medes took that part of it which lay to the E. 
and N. of the Tigris, together with N. Mesopotamia ; 
and Cyaxares quickly extended his dominion south- 
ward over Elam and westward into Asia Minor as far 
as the river Halys, which was fixed by treaty as the 
boundary between the Median and Lydian empires. 

The remainder of the Assyrian territory soon came 
into the possession of Babylonia under the Chaldaean 
dynasty. Unfortunately we know very little about 
the period. The royal inscriptions deal almost en- 
tirely with building operations, and the information 
which they give concerning the external relations of 
Babylonia is of the scantiest. When Nineveh fell, the 
Babylonian throne was still occupied by Nabopolassar. 
Of his military activities previous to 606 we know next 
to nothing, but when AssjTia Was overthro\vn he lost 
no time in securing control of Syria and Palestine. At 
the moment these regions were subject to Egypt, for 
in 608 Necho, the successor of Psjimmetichus, had 
defeated Josiah of Judah at Megiddo (2 K. 2829), 
and, advancing unchecked as far as the Euphrates, 
had recovered Egypt's old provinces. His triumph 
was, however, short-lived. In 604 Nabopolassar sent 
a Babylonian army westward under the command of 
the Crown Prince, Nebuchadrezzar. The Egyptians 
were defeated at Carchcmish and driven back to their 
own country ; and Syria and Palestine were incor- 
porated in the Neo-Babylonian empire, which included 
all the territory, except N. Mesopotamia, Ijnng between 
the Tigris and the Mediterranean coast down to the 
border of Egypt. 

To Nebuchadrezzar, who succeeded Nabopolassar 
(604). there fell the task of consolidating tlie position 
of Babylonia, for, although they had acknowledged 
her supremacy, there was still considerable unrest, 
among the western states, and shortly aft«r 600 j 
Jehoiakim of Judah revolted. Tlie siege and capture! 
of Jerusalem and the deportation of a large number] 
of her inhabitants (597) checked the rebellious ten- 



THE NATIONS CONTEMPORARY WITH ISRAEL 



61 



dencieB for a time. The spirit of unrest, however, was 
not yet cmshed, and when, with the accession of 
Hophra (c 689-565), Egypt made another attempt to 
regain control of Syria and Palestine, a fresh revolt 
broke out, in which Tyre, Sidon, and Judah were in- 
volved. In 588 Nebuchadrezzar marched w'estward. 
Halting with part of his army at Riblah on the Orontes, 
he sent the other part against Jenisalem. The city 
was besieged, and. after the Egyptians had made a 
vain attempt to relieve it, was captured in 586. Again 
a large number of Jews were carried into capti\ity, 
and the city itself was plundered and razed to the 
ground. The fall of Jerusalem was followed by the 
submission of Sidon ; but Tyre did not yield till after 
a long siege, which is said to have lasted for thirteen 
years. With the exception of an obscure reference to 
a victory which he gained over the Egyptians in the 
thirty-seventh year of his reign, we know nothing of 
Nebuchadrezzar's later campaigns. There is no doubt, 
however, that owing to his military successes, and to 
the great attention which, as we learn from his inscrip- 
tions, he gave to the internal development of his 
country, the Neo-Babylonian empire was established 
on a firm basis. 

Unfortunately, his successors were weak kings : the 
reigns of the first three extended over barely seven 
years altogether, while the fourth, Nabu-na'id (Nabo- 
nidus, 556-539), a native Babylonian, w'ho was raised 
to the throne by the prieatly party, was much more 
interested in the restoration of temples than in military 
and administrative affairs, the management of which he 
left to his son, Belshazzar (Dan. 5i*). In 539 Babylonia 
was invaded by the army of Cyrus, king of Persia ; Bel- 
shazzar was defeated at Opis, and shortly afterwards 
the Persians entered Babylon without opposition. 
Thus the Chaldaean empire lost its independence. 

V. The Persian Period. — The movement which re- 
sulted in the establishment of the Persian empire began 
in 553. In that year Cyrus, ruler of the Persian king- 
dom of Anshan in Elam, revolted against his overlord 
Astyages, the successor of Cyaxares, and, having de- 
feated and dethroned him, made himself master of 
the Median empire. The defeat of Croesus, king of 
Lydia, and the extension of Persian authority over 
Asia Minor soon followed. Some years were then spent 
in establishing his supremacy over Iran ; and in 539 
the conquest of Babylonia took place, whereby Syria 
and Palestine were brought under Persian control. 
Cambyses, the son and successor of Cyrus, added 
Egj'pt to the empire ; and Darius I, having crushed 
the numerous insurrections which followed Cambyses' 
sudden death, besides strengthening his frontiers, 
extended his sway into Europe by the conquest of 
Thrace and Macedonia. Darius also took great pains 
with the organisation of the empire. He divided it 
into twenty satrapies or provinces, each of which was 
further subdivided, the governors of the subdivisions 
being responsible to the satrap, or governor of the 
satrapy, and the satrap, in his turn, to the king. 
Persian influence was extended and strengthened by 
means of colonies established at suitable points ; 
taxation was systematised, each province being assessed 
at a certain amount ; and a network of good roads, 
together with a regular system of posts, enabled the 
king to control the vast territory subject to his rule. 
In the reign of Darius the power of Persia reached its 
highest point, and though her empire lasted for a 
century and a half after his death, that event really 
marks the beginning of her decline. 

The causes of the decline are not far to seek. In 
the first place, the kings who followed Darius I were. 



with the exception of Artaxerxes III (3.59-33S). un- 
equal to the task of ruling so vast an empire. Xerxes I 
(485-465), and still more Artaxerxes I (465-425) and 
Artaxerxes II (404-359), were weak monarchs, of ever- 
varying moods, and quite incapable of grasping the 
reins of government with a strong hand. Under their 
rule deterioration was inevitable. Another source of 
weakness was the general moral degeneration resulting 
from the great increase of wealth and luxury : intrigue, 
bribery, and corruption flourished ; and revolts of the 
satraps became frequent, especially during the latter 
part of the period. Egypt, too, was ever ready to 
assert her independence ; while the mountain tribes, 
both in the interior and on the outskirts of the empire, 
were constantly in a state of unrest. Most serious of 
all, however, was the failure against Greece. The 
conquests of Cyrus had broken down the barriers 
between East and West, and made a conflict between 
Greece and Persia inevitable. The struggle began in 
the reign of Darius I. In the early stages the ad- 
vantage was with Persia, but the defeats which she 
suffered at Marathon (490), Salamis (480), Platsea 
(479). and on the Eurymedon (466) not only deprived 
her of her European territory and of the Greek cities 
in W. Asia Minor, but, what was more serious still, 
deiuiitely checked her progress westward and reduced 
her to a stagnant condition. The Greeks, too, gained 
greater confidence in themselves as they found that 
the Persians were not invincible, while they gradually 
came to see that there was a field of conquest and ex- 
pansion open to them in the East. 

The fact that Judah was a part of the Persian empire 
naturally raises the question of the influence of Persia 
upon Hebrew life and thought. The territory of 
Judah formed one of the subdivisions of the satrapy 
called " Abar-Naharah " — i.e. " Beyond -the- River," 
the river being the Euphrates — and had its own gover- 
nor. On the whole, the treatment of the Jews by the 
Persians seems to have been good, though it varied, 
no doubt, according to the character of the reigning 
king. Artaxerxes III, for instance, was a harsh ruler ; 
but it must be remembered that one of Cyrus' earliest 
acts was to allow a large number of Jews to return to 
Judah, while the missions of Ezra and Nehemiah were 
carried out by permission of Artaxerxes I. 

As far as material culture is concerned, there is no 
evidence that the Jews were at all in Persia's debt ; 
but it has been held that their religion shows traces 
of her influence. Unfortunately, the available evidence 
does not justify a definite opinion. This much, how- 
ever, is certain, that after the Exile the Jews held a 
number of ideas and doctrines which they did not 
hold in pre-exilic times. We find, for instance, at 
highly developed angelology, and we know that the 
Persians had a similar system ; the conception of 
Satan, too, may have been affected by the Persian 
belief in AJiriman ; and to Persian influence may be 
due the development of the doctrine of iirunortality 
wherein Jewish theology made ita most important 
advance. The possibilities of borrowing are numerous, 
and though no single case can be regarded as certainly 
established, there is no o priori objection against any 
one of them. We may say. however, that if Judaism 
borrowed, she was not content to keep what she 
borrowed unchanged. She developed and improved 
it, and made it the vehicle of higher teaching. 

The Persian power collapsed suddenly and unex- 
pectedly. The reign of Artaxerxes III (359-338) had 
seen the empire restored to its full extent, and ap- 
parently re-established as firmly as ever ; yet, seven 
years after Artaxerxes' death, Darius III, defeated 



62 



THE NATIONS CONTEMPORARY WITH ISRAEL 



by Alexander, first at Issus (332) and then at Arbela 
(331), was a fugitive, and the control of the Persian 
empire passed to the Greeks. 

VI. The Greek Period. — The movement which re- 
sulted in the overthrow of the Persian power was 
initiated by Philip, king of Macedonia (3oD-336), and 
was carried out by his son Alexander, sumamod the 
Great (330-323). The story of Alexander's campaigns, 
whereby he not only subdued the whole of the Persian 
empire, including Egypt, where he founded Alexandria, 
but extended his conquests as far as the Indus, and 
even beyond it into India, cannot be written here. 
Wc can onlj- consider briefly the main consequences 
of his victories for Israel. 

In 323 Alexander died, and his death was followed 
by the disintegration of his empire. Wien the period 
of confusion came to an end, the Jews found themselves 
between two kingdoms — that of the Ptolemies, with 
its centre in Egypt, and that of the Seleucids, with 
its centre in Syria. The founder of the former. 
Ptolemy I, afterwards named Soter, had been one of 
Alexander's ablest generals, and when the empire was 
partitioned in 323 he secured for himself the satrapy 
of Egypt, recognising that it was the most fertile and 
the most easily defended of all the provinces. In 
305 he assumed the title of king, and the dynasty 
which he established ruled in Egj^jt for nearly three 
centuries. Outside Egj'pt proper he gained control 
of CjTcne, Cyprus, and parts of Caria and Lycia in 
Asia Minor ; for a time also he had a footing in Greece, 
holding Corinth, Sicyon, and Mcgara. In 301, after 
three earlier attempts, he obtained possession of 
Palestine, which remained an Eg^'ptian province till 
198. when it passed into Seleucid hands. In 285 
Ptolemj' I abdicated in favour of his son, Ptolemy EI 
Philadelphus (285-246), whose reign was on the whole 
a prosperous one, though he lost Cyrene and some of 
his possessions in Asia Minor. Ptolemy III Euergetcs, 
however, recovered what his father had lost, and even 
pushed his conquests westward as far as Thrace, and 
eastward over Babylonia into Iran. The next king, 
Ptolemy IV Philopator (221-204), was thoroughly dis- 
solute, and though in 217 his forces defeated the 
Seleucid king Antiochus III at Raphia, thereby post- 
poning the loss of Palestine, yet with his reign, in the 
course of which Rome e«tablished her protectorate over 
Egj-pt, the decline of the kingdom set in. The history 
of the rest of the djaiasty is a confused record of feuds, 
murders, and revolts, by which the political power of 
Egypt was undermined and her prosperity greatly 
dmiinished, until in 30 B.C. she became a province of 
the Roman empire. 

The kiiigflora of the Seleucids was founded by 
Seleucus, another of Alexander's generals. Originally 
he wa-s appointed satrap of Babylonia (321), but was 
deprived of his position in 31(). He recovered it, how- 
ever, in 312, and during the next thirty years he made 
himself master of the greater part of Alexander's 
empire, extending his authority over the eastern 
provinces as far as India, over Syria and parts of 
Asia Minor, and, shortly before his death in 281, over 
Thrace and Macedonia. Like Ptolemy, he assumed 
the title of king in 305, and founded thecity of Antioch 
to be his seat of government. The task of maintaining 
the empire was beyond the power of the next four 
kings : there were revolts in the east, and Seleucid 
authority ceased to be acknowledged in Asia Minor 
and further west. A revival was brought about by 
Antiochus III the Great (223-187), who regained 
control of the eastern provinces, secured Palestine 

from Egypt (198), recovered the lost territory in Asia 



Minor, and even entered Greece. Tno revival was not 
sustained, however, for Antiochus' western campaigns 
broxight him into conflict with Rome, and, owing to 
the serious defeats which were inflicted on him at 
Thermopylifi (191) and Magne.m (190), his empire 
Was considerably reduced not only in the west but also 
in the east, so that at his death it consisted only of 
Syria and Palestine, Mesopotamia, Media, and Persis. 
After the undistinguished reign of Seleucus IV Philo- 
pator, the kingdom was seized by Antiochus IV 
Epiphanes (176-164), who is best known for his per lo- 
cution of the Jews and his attempts to suppress the 
Jewish religion. He tried to conquer Egypt, but was 
prevented by the Romans ; on the east, however, lie 
was more successful, and it was while campaigning; in 
Persis that he died in 164. The remainder of the 
history of the dynasty is not unlike that of the 
Ptolemies : for the most part the successors of Anti- 
ochus Epiphanes were weak kings, while the rise of rival 
claimants to the throne was a frequent cause of feuds. 
Thus, though the kingdom lasted for a century after 
Antiochus I V's death, it became ever smaller and weaker, 
until at last, in 63, Syria was made a Roman province. 
But the coming of the Greeks had other than poli- 
tical consequences for Judaism. Hitherto Jews and 
Greeks had known little of one another ; now they were 
brought into the closest contact. One after another on 
all sides ot Judah there sprang up centres of Greek 
culture, by all of which, but especially by Antioch 
and Alexandria, the Jews were greatly influenced. 
Not only did they engage in trade with the.se cities, 
but. encouraged by both Ptolemies and Seleucids, who 
offered them rights of citi^ensllip, and attracted by 
the greater freedom of Greek life, they went and lived 
in them. There they adopted Greek habits and cus- 
toms, and even Greek names ; they read Greek litera- 
ture and studied Greek philosophy. Most important 
of all, they learnt the Greek language, employing it 
originally in trade and social intercourse, but after- 
wards for purposes of religion. Quite early they boLran 
to translate the OT into Gi-eek — first the Pentateuch, 
which was completed by 250, and then gradually the 
remainder of the sacred books. Nor did Judah 
escape these influences, which were brought to bear 
on her partly through her commercial relations with 
the surrounding Greek cities, and partly through the 
Jews of the " Dispersion," who for religious and other 
reasons were constantly revisiting their native land ; 
while in the capital itself a gjTnnasium was established 
in which Jewish youths engaged, after the Greek 
fashion, in physical and mental exercises. The 
complete hellenLsation of Judaism, which must at one 
time have seemed likely, and which Antiochus Epi- 
phanes especially did his utmost to bring about, was 
providentially checked by the Maccabean revolt (pp. 
607f.) ; but wc must never underestimato the imjHjri- 
anc of this period of intercourse betwwn Je«s nml 
Gr eks, for it was the last stage in the long process nf 
preparation for the coming of Christianity. 

Literature. — Rogers, History of Bulnjlonia and .!<- 
Syria; Iving, Stimer and Akkad and The History nj 
Babylon ; Goodspeed. History of Babylonia and As- 
stfriii ; Johns, Babylonia and Assyria ; Breasted, 
History of Egypt ; King and Hall, Egypt and Western 
Asia ; Hall, Ancient History of the Near East : Meyer, 
Geschichte des Allerthums ; Maspero, H istoire Ancienne 
des Peuples de V Orient Classiqiw : Holm, History of 
Greece (vols. iii. and iv.) ; Garstang, The Land of the 
Hittites : Macalist«r, The Philistines ; Myers, The 
Darim of History ; Hogarth, The Ancient East. Articles 
in EB", HDB, EBi. 



THE HISTORY OF ISRAEL 



By Dr. A. H. M'NEILE 



1. The Dawn of Israelite History. — The B^ne (Sons 
of) Israel were an offshoot from a primitive stock, a 
" Semitic " race, which is found, in the dawn of his- 
tory, planted somewhere in the north of Arabia. At 
a very early date portions of this race began to move 
to various parts of Asia, and in course of time nations 
were formed which we know as the Babylonians, 
towards the southern end of the Euphrates ; the 
Assyrians, further N. on the Tigris ; and the Aramseans 
(or Syrians), in the district between the two rivers — i.e. 
Aram-naharaim (p. 155) or Mesopotamia. When thia 
district became populated, Aramseans began to move 
westward, and estabhshcd themselves along the trade 
rout<33 as far as Damascus and Hamath. The B«=ne 
Isrfiel emerged, according to tradition, from " Ur of 
the Chaldees " (Gen. II31, 157), which is generally 
but not universally identified with the ancient city 
Uru, in southern Babylonia, but they claimed kinship 
with the Aramajans (Dt. 265*), and their immigration 
no doubt formed part of the general Aramaean 
movement to the W. They were far from being a 
nation ; thej' were a small band of nomads, whose 
sheikh bore traditionally the name Abram, and his 
journoyings represent the wandermgs of the clan. 
The history, as pictured in the patriarchal narrative, 
is obscure, and will probably always remain to some 
extent conjectural. Tradition connected the settle- 
ments of the clan with ancient Canaanit« sanctuaries — 
e.g. Shechem (Gen. 126, 33i8), Bethel (128, 133, 2819, 
3515), Kiriath-arba or Hebron (13i8, 232, 3027), 
Beersheba (2I31, 2623). In some cases the narrative 
attempted to account for the names of the places, or 
for the fact that the Canaanito sanctuaries or objects 
of worship were appropriated to the worship of Yahwoh, 
which gradually took place when the Israc^lites settled 
in the country after the Exodus. " Canaanite " is 
often a collective term for the various tribes and 
peoples who occupied Canaan. The settled population 
had reached some degree of civilisation : Phoenicians 
on the Mediterranean coast, who became the chief sea 
traders of the ancient world ; Amorites and several 
other smaller tribes in the valleys and hills between 
the sea and the Jordan ; and Moabites and Ammonites 
on the E. of the Jordan. There were also tribes which 
may be described as half-nomad, such as the Edomites, 
and some smaller clans who clung to the outskirts 
of cultivated land in the S. of Judah. And finally 
there were true nomads, such as tiio Midianitcs, 
Ishmaelites, and Amalekites, who roamed about in 
the Arabian desert and made raids on the cultivated 
regions. 
The relations of Israel with some of these snr- 
' rounding peoples arc reflected hi the stories of the 
I patriarchs (p. 134). If Isaac n^presents Isra«l, or per- 
haps a southern portion of it, Ishmael is his " brother," 
the son of Hagar, banished to a fierce life in the desert. 



Jacob clearly stands for Israel as a whole, or its main 
stock, and his " brother " Esau — i.e. the Edomite 
tribe — is akin to him by blood, and at the same time 
his bitterest enemy. Jacob's unscrupulous cleverness, 
by which he " supplants " Esau from their very birth, 
is the element in their cliaracter which enabled 
the Israehtes to retain their hold on cultivated lands, 
and to get the better of their less subtle and less 
civilised neighbours. Similarly Moab and Ammon 
were half-brothers, " sons " of Lot the nephew of 
Abram (Gen. 1 936-38). And Abram begat other 
" sons " by Kcturah, whose names, and those of their 
sons, are the names of districts and clans (25i-6). 
Finally, the " sons " of Jacob by two wives, Leah 
and Rachel, and two concubines, Bilhah and Zilpah, 
are the eponymous ancestors of tribal groups akin by 
blood, who composed the confederate Israelite nation as 
it was known in the centuries following the Exodus. 

Some of these groups appear to have lived for a time 
in a half-nomad condition in the Negeb, or south 
country, the borderland between Judah and the desert 
of the Sinaitic peninsula (p. 32), until they were driven 
by scarcity of food to the borders of Egypt. 

2. Israel in Egypt and the Exodus. — The narratives 
of Joseph in Egypt, his slavery and his rise to power, 
fascinating in picturesque detail and full of rchgious 
value and beauty, may be based upon historical facts, 
but are as yet unsupported by contemporary records 
known to us. From the broader, national point of view 
the important fact is that some Israelite clans were per- 
mitted*, together with other desert tribes, to occupy the 
marshy pastures on the NE. of Egypt in the district 
or nomc of Goshen (p. 63). The Pharaoh who allowed 
this was probably a descendant of the Semitic invaders 
of Egypt, the Hyksas or Shasu chiefs (pp. 52, 54), 
who would show liimself favourable to the Israehtes. 
But the change in the attitude of the " new king " 
(Ex. Is) towards them reflects the fact that the Hebrew 
dynasty was driven out, and the Egyptian eighteenth 
dynasty was established. Rameses II (p. 56), its most 
important member, was renowned, and took consider- 
able care to make himself renowned, for his building 
operations, in which foreign conquered tribes and 
prisoners of war were employed in slave labour, among 
whom was a large numlx'r of the Israelites. His son 
and successor, Memeptah (p. 56), was probably the 
Pharaoh of the Exodus. Egypt was first temfied and 
then thrown into confusion by the " plagues," a series 
of disturbing occurrences which, in God's providence, 
gave an opportunitj^ for the Israehtes and a consider- 
able number of otlier enslaved foreigners to escape. 
That the opportunity was successfully seized was due 
to the inspiring i^rsonality and leadership of Hoies 
(p. 84). His origin is lost in obscurity, but his 
family was n-lated by marriage with the Kenites, a 
Midianito clan. The' Israelite records relate that he 



64 



THE HISTORY OF ISRAEL 



maxried Zipix)rah, tlie daughtt-r of Jethro, the priest 
of Midian. Tradition told of Moses' birth, and pn-- 
wn-ation as an infant by the daughter of Pharaoh, 
and traced his movements as a young man from Egypt 
to Midian, and from Midian to the sacred mountain, 
the abode of Yahwch, whom his family and the 
Konitos worshipped. Yahwch appcan^d to him in the 
burning bush, and entrusted to him the task of de- 
livering His people. 

The Israelites fled with him across the Goshen 
marshes into the Sinaitic peninsula. The crossing of 
the " Rod Sea " (yam suph, " sea," or " lake, of reeds ") 
was probably the crossing of the southern end of a 
lake a few miles NW. of what is now called the Red 
Sea (Ex. 13 17-20*). A wind laid baix; a wide stretch of 
shone, and when an Egi^ptian force pursued the fugi- 
tives, their chariot wheels stuck fast in the wet soil, and 
the water returned upon them when the wind shifted. 

Writers differ as to the route taken by the Israelites. 
Some think that they moved southward to the moun- 
tainous range of (the modem) Sinai, and then along 
the eastern arm of the Red Sea, now known as the 
Gulf of Akaba, to its northernmost point at Ezion-gcber. 
Others, including the writer of this article, think that 
the evidence points to the route still taken by Mecca 
pilgrims, nearly due E. to Ezion-geber, and that 
thence they moved NW. to the region of Kadesh 
(-Bamea), to Mt. Sinai, or southward along the E. 
side of the Gulf of Akaba to Mt. Horeb (Ex. 31°). 
The traditions differ, and certainty is impossible. 

The Books of Ex. and Nu. contain several incidents 
related to have occurred in the course of the journey- 
ings. In a few cases duplicates of the same narrative 
have been incorporated by the compiler both beforo 
and after the giving of the Law at the sacred moun- 
tain. Historically these incidents are without im- 
portance, though from the religious point of view— 
which was that of the narrators — they are of great 
value as illustrating Yahweh's loving care of His j)eople, 
and His punishments inflicted for their frequent acta 
of rebellion and disobedience. 

3. Moses and the Law. — The event which was of 
central importance in Israelite history was itself re- 
ligious. Realising its importance, tradition sur- 
rounded it with terrifying phenomena, such as would 
be suggested by a thunderstorm and a volcanic erup- 
tion — a fitting framework to a Theophany. Moses had 
led the mixed band of loosely connected tribes and 
clans to the mountain abode of Yahweh, whom his 
family and the Kenites worshipped. And into that 
worship .Moses admitted them as a body, thereby 
uniting them by the strongest of bonds. Into thiis 
rehgious confederacy were drawn not only the fugi- 
tives from Egj^pt, but probably also some tribes who 
had not been in Egj'pt, whom they found settled in 
the neighbourhood of Kadesh. He caused them all 
to enter into a solemn covenant to worship Yahweh 
and no other deity. And the covenant was sealed 
by a sacrificial feast (Ex. 244-8), a-lebrated jointly by 
Jethro and the elders of Israel. (The earhest tradition 
that has reached us as to the laws to which they 
promised obedience is found in Ex. 34 14, 17-2 3, 25f. ; 
and the same laws are embedded in a more extended 
group in 2O23-2333 ; but at a later date the Deca- 
logue (2O1-17, Dt. .56-21) wa-s accepted as the covenant 
code. In Dt. 29i the remainder of the laws are even 
tn>ated as the basis of a second co^'onant in the land 
of Moab, at the end of the joumeyings.) This event, 
by which Israel for the first time was drawn into a 
rial inner nnitj', was so epoch-making that ever after- 
wards the laws and customs — religious, social, and 



ethical — which grew up during the whole history of 
the nation until the close of tlie Canon, were ideally 
ascribed to iloses. It is probable, from the nature of 
things, that Moses was the founder of Israelite law in 
two senses: (1) In introducing the tribes to the 
worship of Yahweh he must have given directions as 
to the " manner " of His cult — the ritual requirements 
and prohibitions which he himself had previously learnt 
to ob.serve. And the exclusive worship of one deity, 
although the existence of others was re'cogniaed, was 
the starting-point for the advance to the spiritual 
monotheism which was reached at a later time. 
(2) As a powerful sheikh he must have been responsible 
for order and discipline, which he maintained by his 
strength of personality and sj-mpathotic devotion to 
his people. This involved decisions of many kinds 
on matters of tribal justice and equity, and these must 
have given him the opportunity of moulding the 
character of Israel as a whole, and of planting the germ 
which afterwards grew into the splendid ethical morality 
of the prophets. (See further p. 84.) 

4. The Settlement in Canaan. — The tribes thus newly 
compacted into a rehgious confederacy hved and wan- 
dered for some time in and around the Negeb, with 
Kadesh as their centre. But finally the larger portion 
of them made their way round the S. of the Dead Sea 
to the steppes of Moab. There is some probability 
in the supposition that the remainder — those who had 
already been settled at Kadesh before the main body 
an-ived from Egypt — did not accompany them to 
Moab — i.e. Judah and Simeon ; perhaps Levi, as some 
think ; and possibly also Benjamin (but see below). 
On the E. of Jordan some native tribes known as the 
Amorites, under their king Sihon, were successfully 
encountered, and also, according to the Deuteronomic 
tradition, othei-s farther N., in the district of Bashan, 
under a king named Og. But the final possession of 
the regions E. of the Jordan was probably a gradual 
process, achieved by subsequent raids from the W. 
This uncertainty is reflected by the different accounts, 
at various periods, of the boundaries of the tribes on 
the E. of the river, but those who finally settled there 
were known as Gad (or Gilead), Reuben, and half 
Manasseh. (On the origin of the tribes and the con- 
quest of Canaan sec further pp. 248f.) 

Religious writers of Israelite literature loved to 
paint, in glo-ning colours, pictures of the ancient for- 
tunes of tiieir race. The bulk of the Book of Joshua 
may be described as an allegory, rich in spiritual 
ideals, but with hardly more claim to be historical 
than Bunyan's Huh/ War. It represents all tho 
people of God as making war upon the enemies of God, 
and the speedy result of their battles was the complete 
extermination of every Canaanite : " all that breathed " 
were swept away. Jordan was dried up, so that tho 
host could march over it dryshod. Joshua, who had 
been appointed as Moses' successor, was encouraged 
by the appearance to him of One who said that He was 
the Captain of the host of Yahweh. The walls of 
Jericho marvellously fell without a blow being struck. 
In the centre of the country Ai was captured by 
stratagem, after Israel had suffered a reverse o'.ving 
to the sin of Achan in transgressing the hereni or 
"ban" (Dt. 234*, Jos. Oi7*, Jg. I17*, pp- 99, 114). 
by appropriating some of the spoils of Jericlio. Israel 
made another mistake in allowing the Gibeonites to 
beguile them into making a treaty. When the five 
native kings in the south heard of it, they combined 
to attack Gibeon, but they were cnislied by Israel at 
the battle of Beth-horon, in the lowlands of Judah. 
The five kings were> imprisoned in a ca\o until tho rout 1 



THE HISTORY OF ISRAEL 



65 



was completed, and then put to death. After which a 
series of sweeping conquests put Joshua in possession 
of the whole territoiy from the hills and lowlands of 
Judah to the southern desert. Lastly, in the N., 
Jabin, king of Hazor, gathered a great army of allies, 
which was defeated by Joshua at tlie waters of Merom 
(p. 32), and the entire population in the N. was 
anniliilated. The holy war was finished, the God of 
Israel had gotten Himself the victorj'. It only re- 
mained for the tribes to cast lots for their respoctivo 
territories, and to tako midisturbed possession of 
them. 

But within this idealized narrative are embedded 
certain ancient fragments of a history of the settle- 
ment which, together with the Books of Judges and 
] and 2 Samuel, yield a very different picture. They 
shew that the IsraeUte occupation of the country was 
a long, slow progress. And this is supported by recent 
excavations, which make it evident that no sudden 
change took place in religion or maimer of hfe. Can- 
aanite became Israelite by imperceptible stages. The 
native inhabitants were strong with mihtary resources 
and an established civilisation. They possessed gar- 
risoned forts commanding strategic points ; in parti- 
cular two chains of forts ran (1) along the vallej", west- 
ward from Jerusalem, which separated the southern 
from the central hills, and (2) along the southern 
border of the plain of Jezreel, the chief battle-ground 
of Palestine, which formed a break between the central 
and the northern hills. The Israehte tribes, devoid of 
war-chariots and armed, probably, with rude weapons, 
but hardy and untamed in comparison with the 
civilised Cansianitcs, gradual!}' filtered into the country 
and planted themselves in the three separate hilly 
districts. Thus these three groups of tribes were at 
first distinct. 

The Southern Group. — Certain of the tribes, as said 
above, probably did not accompany the rest to Moab. 
They appear to have made their way into the southern 
hills straight from the Negeb. Judah and Simeon 
moved together (Jg. Isf.). But the latter can hardly 
be said to have settled at all ; they remained on the 
borders of the desert, where they soon melted away, 
and played no part in the national traditions. This 
seems to be the meaning of Gen. 49?, where Levi is 
coupled with Simeon as meeting the same fate. It 
■will be noticed that these tribes, which formed a geo- 
graphical group by themselves, are three of the first 
four " sons " of Leah (Geru 2931-35). Her eldest 
son, Reuben, may possibly have been in the earliest 
days one of this group ; but Reuben is found, in his- 
torj', only on the E. of Jordan, in a subordinate 
condition (Dt. 336; cf. Gen. 494). The southern group 
were in friendly relations, and gradually amalgamated, 
with non-Israelite clans — Calebites and Kenizzites, 
Kenites, Jerahmeelites, and others. 

The Central Group. — This consisted of Ephraim and 
Manasseh, the " house of Joseph," who was the elder 
son of Rachel They found themselves cramped for 
room in their hill forests, and were obliged to enlarge 
their borders by cutting down the trees (Jos. I714-18). 
And Manasseh eventually sent some of their numbers 
as settlers E. of the Jordan. The little warhke tribe 
of Benjamin was also a son of Rachel, which may 
imply that it was at first a-ssociated with Ephraim and 
Manasseh. In this case the name, which means 
" Southerner," refers to its position in relation to 
these two tribes. However, it .separated itself from 
them in the course of its history, and threw in its lot 
with Judah. 

The Northern Group. — Five tribes — Issachar, Zebu- 



Ion, Naphtali, Asher, and Dan— are found N. of the 
plain of JezreeL There is evidence (pp. 248f.) which 
suggests that Asher was an Israelite trilx; which occu- 
pied its territory, and was probably amalgamated with 
the Canaanites of the district, before the other tribes 
entered the country. Dan settled at first in the low- 
lands on the W. of Judah ; but, being hemmed in 
on either side by the Canaanites and Philistines, 
most of its fighting members migrated to the N., 
and settled in a small district near the source of the 
Jordan. 

Havuig made their way thus into the various 
parts of the country, the Israelites were very far 
from being in the position of conquerors. This is 
clearly indicated m Jg. I27-36. The process by which 
this was achieved was not complete until the reign of 
David. 

5. The Period of the Judges. — The several com- 
munities, each governed by its sheikhs or elders, now 
began to enlarge their bordeis. They contrived to 
make their way into the villages in the plains. Some- 
times they became friendly with the natives, inter- 
married with them, and all too frequently took part 
in their worship of the local gods and goddesses. They 
gradually gained possession of villages, and even of 
walled towns, and made the natives their slaves. 
From time to time, as they grew more powerful, they 
ftjught with them. When this occurred, all the 
Israelites in a district would follow a man of char- 
acter and courage, who placed himself at their head- 
After a successful encounter this chief would be hon- 
oured more highly in the district than any of the local 
elders, and thus became a " judge " or petty king. 
The narratives of the judges must not be considered 
as successive episodes in which aU, or even a large 
portion, of Israel took part. They are specimens of 
actions which must frequently have taken place in 
various districts. Four principal actions are recorded, 
in which the " judges " who took the lead were Ehud, 
Barak, Gideon, and Jephthah respectively. (1) The 
Moabites under their king, Eglon, gained a footing 
in the district round Jericho, and exacted tribut-e. 
Ehud, who conducted the caravan bearing the tribute, 
assassinated Eglon, and gathered a force which cut 
off every Moabite found W. of the Jordan. (2) A 
more formidable battle was fought against a northern 
coaUtion under Sisera, king of Harosheth, described 
in the ancient poem in Jg. 5 (the " Song of Deborah "). 
Barak, at the head of contingents from six of the tribes, 
routed the enemy at Taanach, and Sisera fled, ordy 
to be assassinated by a woman. In Jg. 4 the compiler 
has confused this battle with that against Jabin, king 
of Hazor, related in Jos. 11. (3) The Jlidianites (Ex. 
215') severely harassed the Manassites ; but Jerubbaal 
(Gideon) collected troops, from which he selected 
three hundred men, who sun-oundcd the enemy's 
camp at night and threw them into a sudden panic. 
The Ephraimites cut off all that were W. of the Jordan, 
and Gideon s army contmued the pursuit on the other 
side of the river. (For the double thread of which 
Jg. 6-8 is composed, see Comm.) (4) The Gileaditcs 
wore obliged to defend themselves against a neigh- 
bouring nation, probably the Ammonites, but the 
compiler has confused them with the Moabites. 
Jephthah, who was living the life of a freebooter, 
was invited to take the command against them, and 
defeated them. His rash vow which led him to 
sacrifice his daughter, and his quarrel with the Eph- 
raimites, are incidents in the story. 

Beside these four engagements, the compiler haa 
preserved other narratives : the unsuccessful attempta 

3 



66 



THE HISTORY OF ISRAEL 



of a half-caste advi-nturcr, Ablmelech. a son of Gideon 
by a Canaanito mother, to make himst^lf king over 
iSlicclu-m and the surrounding district ; the individual 
actis of prowess against the Piiiiistinos of Samson, a 
popuhir hero of Israelite' folklore ; and some intima- 
tions of other loo.il struggles under the names of 
Tola, Jalr, Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon, which are prob- 
ably (in the case of Jair certainly) names of clans or 
districts, not of individuals. On Othnicl and Shamgar 
cf. Jg. 37-11* and 31*. 

The result of these occasional struggles was to give 
the Israelites a firmer footing in the country. And, 
in times of peace, friendly contact and intermarriage 
with the natives led to the acquisition of the ai-t of 
agriculture and other advantages of a settled civilisa- 
tion. It also led, as said above, to frequent partici- 
pation in their worship. But a further important 
result ensued : by gaining larger tracts of territory 
the tribes approached a closer unity of interests, 
which created a growing need of central government. 
So long as each township, with its surrounding villages, 
was managed only b}- an oligarchy of elders, constant 
friction was inevitable. But the prestige accorded to 
the local " judges " paved the way for the idea of a 
monarchy, and a desire was felt for a king to " judge " 
or govern them and to lead them in battle. To effect 
this was the work of Samuel. 

6. The Beginning of Kingship. — Samuel, the son of 
Ephraimite parents, was of repute as a " seer" (p. 428) 
in the town of Ramah and the surrounding district. He 
was moved by a God-sent conviction that Israel must 
have a king. And when Saul, a fine young Benjamite, 
came to him to inquire of God respecting some lost 
asses, he felt sure that here was the man for his pur- 
■ pase, partly, perhaps, because Benjamm formed a sort 
of connecting link Ix-tween the Josenli tribes and Judah. 
He anointed him privatelj', and bade him seize the 
first opportunity that offered itsc^lf of assorting his 
authority. The opportunity came when the Ammon- 
ites, under their king Naliash, attacked Jabesh in 
Gilead. Saul acted in the same manner as any of the 
" judges." Coming back one day from his work in 
the field, he heard of the desperate plight of Jabesh, 
and sent round a ferocious summons which brought 
him a strong force of men, with which he rc^lieved 
the town. On his return he was made king at 
Gilgal. 

Some time elapsed, of which tJio records preserve no 
account. But wnen his son Jonathan was old enough 
to be a skilled soldier, Saul led the Israelite armies 
in an attempt to throw off the yoke of the Philis- 
tines (pp. oOf.), who had gained considerable power in 
the country. (On an earlier occasion, before the Israelite 
armies were under the command of a capable leader, 
the Philistines had won a victory, in which they cap- 
tured the Ark, and plunged Israel into despair.) 1 S. 
1319-23 gives a description, perhaps somewhat exag- 
gerated, of the straits to which Israel was reduced. 
At the battle of Miehmash a victory was won, but it did 
not put an end to the trouble. Throughout the whole 
of Saul's reign the Philistines harassed the country by 
predatory raids. Several skirmishes took place, and 
in one of them Saul and Jonathan mot their death 
at >It. Gilhoa (pp. 29f.). During the latter years of 
his life Saul Ix^came a victim to nervous melancholia. 
A harpist named DavId soothed him with music wlien 
the attacks occurred, and gained the king's affection, 
so that ho made liim his armour-b{»arer. But the 
success of this young warrior in the Philistine battles, 
and the popularity which he won, caused melancholia 
to take the form of jealousy, and suspicion that David 



was plotting against him. David was obliged to leave 
the court. He wont to the fortre-ss of Adullam, where 
he was joined by a band of companions, which quickly 
grew in numbers, so that he became a free booting 
chief. Repeated attempts on Saul's part to catch 
him were unsuccessful For a time the Philistine 
king, Achish of Gath, received him as a friend, and 
allowed him and his troop to occupy tho border town 
of Ziklag, whence they made raids on non-Isra<)ito 
tribes in tho Negeb, and gained tho friendship of the 
southern districts of Judan by sending them pri'.sent3 
from the spoils. Thus, when Saul died at Gilboa, 
Judah was ready to rally round David and make him 
king. 

This outline of Saul's life is expanded in the later 
traditions, which treat of the two chief personages 
of the time, Samuel and David. Samuel was the most 
influential of a group of " prophets." earnest adherents 
to the old tribal religion of Yahweh, who roused tiiem- 
selves to ecstasy by muiiic and dancing, therebj- keeping 
alive the belief in Yahweh, whose Spirit was understood 
to be the cause of tho ecstasy (p. 430). But in later 
times, when " prophets " had developed into some- 
thing l\ijiher and nobler, the history was rewritten from 
this more rehgious standpoint. In these latter strata 
of narrative Samuel is pictured as the great re-ligious 
adviser of king and people. Born in answer to his 
mother's prayers, dedicated to God's service from 
infancy, he received as a child a Divine message of 
rebuke to Eli, the priest of Shiloh, and all Israel knew 
that he was established to be a prophet of Yahweh. 
He " judged the people in Mizpah," and Yahweh 
threw them into a panic by a thunderstorm. The 
writer of this narrative had experienced tho misrule 
and tyranny of kings, and he expresses his condemna- 
tion of them by representing Samuel as vehemently 
opposed to the appointment of a king. Tho people 
clamoured for it, and God told him that they must 
have their way. He summoned a national assembly 
at Miz^jah, where Saul was chosen by lot. Samuel then 
made a sjxiech, warning them that Yahweh's favour, 
which they had hitherto enjoyed throughout their 
history, would bo forfeited by them if they and their 
chosen king did not continue to fear and sers'o Him. 

But Saul soon disobeyed Yahweh's commands, de- 
livered by His great prophet. Samuel bade Saul 
undertake a religious war of extermination against 
the Amalekites, but he disobeyed, in that he spared 
Agag, their king, and the choicest animals of tho spoil 
for sacrifice. Samuel accordingly declared that tho 
kingdom would lx> taken from him, and tho prophet 
fortliwith anointed David, the youngest son of Jesse, 
marking liim out as the future king. As in the case 
of Moses and Samuel, tradition enriched history m it6 
accounts of David's life. As a shepherd boy ho kU 
wild boasts with his own hands. While still too yoi 
to Ix) a soldier he killed a Pliilistine giant, Goliath, 
with a sling and a stone, and was taken into Saul's 
household. There he formed an ideal friendship with 
Jonathan. But his successes in battlt> roust>d Saul's 
jealousy, and he fled, in danger of his life, to the hills 
of Judaea. Then> he wandered, not, as in tho earlier 
narrative, an outlaw chief with a large baud of fol- 
lowers, but an almost solitary fugitive chased by 
Saul. This late stratum of the narrative encw 
with Saul's visit to tho witch at Endor, when tho 
shade of tho great prophet again rebuked him loa 
disobedience, and predicted that David would becoiM 
king and that Israel would l)o defeated by tu 
Philistines. 1 

7. The Reign of David. — David was chosen as kin| 



THE HISTORY OF ISRAEL 



67 



by the Judsean tribes whoso friendship he had won. 
\s a counter move, Abnor, Saul's captain, set up as 
ting at Mahanaim Saul's son Ishbaal (Ishboshcth). 
But a defoat in )>attle at the hands of Joab, David's 
!aptain, followed by Abnor"s desertion, left Ishbaal 
i(lpl( ss. He was murdered by two of his own officers, 
md the way was clear for David to unite the whole 
jountry under his control. 

In the consolidation of his kingdom he began with a 
itratr^gic movement of incalculable importance — the 
capture of the almost impregnable fortress of Zion 
rom the Jebusitcs, accomplished by the courage of 
Foab. He then attacked the Philistines, so long the 
courge of the country. Brief accounts of two cn- 
jageraents have survived (2 S. 517-25), and the sum- 
nary statement that he " took Mcthog-ammah " 
81 *). Their opposition was broken, and they never 
igain became a national peril. The conflicts with 
he countries bordering on Israel were apparently 
lumerous, but are, for the most part, summarised by 
ho compiler as briefly as possible in 2 S. 8. Moab, 
Siram (SjTia), Edom, and Ammon were worsted in a 
erics of victories. 

But David's rise to power spoilt him. He became 
n some respects a typical Oriental monarch. In the 
ourse of the Ammonite campaign occurred the dark 
ncident of his illicit love for Bathsheba, and the 
Qachinations by which her husband, Uriah, a sturdy 
oldier, was done to death that his wife might be 
carried to the king. The son that she bore to David 
lied in infancj'. Like other Oriental monarchs, he 
ssumed roj'al state, with polygamy its usual accom- 
laniment, which soon led to opposition, violence, and 
rime within his own family. His son Absalom, a 
lampered favourite, killed a half-brother, Amnon, for 
, wrong done to his sister, and fled. Joab, realising 
hat he was hatching mischief, with difficulty persuaded 
)avid to fetch him home. But the mischief was 
lone. Absalom gained the adherence of the northern 
ribcs, and the rebellion became so formidable that 
)avid fled to Mahanaim. A battle ensued, in which 
Absalom fled, and was caught up in the branches of 
, tree, where Joab killed him, contrary to David's 
xpressed wish. David returned in safety to Jeru- 
alem, but embittered against Joab. The victory, 
lowever, did not put an end to the tension between 
he two parts of the nation. An obscure quarrel 
rhich arose between them out of a mere trifle gave 
,n opportunity to Sheba, a member of Saul's tribe, 
o rally the northerners. But this fresh revolt was 
rusiied, again by the iron hand of Joab. Two further 
toubles occurred in the course of the reign, a famine 
Old a po8tilen&7, both ascribed to Yahweh's anger, 
,nd both brought to an end by propitiating Him — 
a the former case by hanging seven of Saul's sons 
II blood-revenge for some Gibeonitos whom Saul had 
lain, in the latter by an animal sacrifice (2 S. 2I1-14, 
14). After Sheba's revolt no records of the rtagn have 
urvived imtil the aged king is pictured on his death- 
led. Adonijah, a son of one of his many concubines, 
?as plotting to seize the crown, with tho help of Joab 
Jid the pri(?8t Abiathar. But David nominated 
lolomon, Bathshoba's son, as his successor, and called 
ipon Bcnaiah, tho priest Zadok, and tho prophet 
ifathan. to help him. Zadok anointed him, and 
Adonijah at once submitted. 

8. The Reign of Solomon. — Solomon wa-s a tyrant 
tnd a man of iron, who chastised tho nation with 
fhips. Still holding together tho N. and the S. in 
k precarious unity, and troubled by little fon^ign 
•pposition (Hadad, an Edomite, and Rezon, an Ara- 



majan, are mentioned as givuig some trouble, 1 K. 
11 14-25), ho was able to attain to his truly Oriental 
ideal of barbaric magnificence. In order, doubtless, 
to cement political treaties, he married a large number 
of foreign wives, including tho daughter of tho Pharaoh 
of Egypt. He strengthened the country by fortifying 
towns at strategic points. By alliance with Hiram, 
king of Tyre, he became possessor of a fleet which 
traded along the Arabian coasts, starting from tho 
port at Elath, which the Edomite rising had not suc- 
ceeded in taking from him. Wealth — tradition pic- 
tured it as fabulous — began to pour in. But for the 
most part it found its way into Jerusalem, and con- 
tributed to tho luxury of his court and to the splendour 
of his palace and royal sanctuary, and of the palace 
of his Egyptian queen. The exchequer was further 
enriched by taxation : twelve districts were mapped 
out, each in command of an officer, who levied pro- 
visions for the palace for one month in the year. 
Moreover, tho king's extensive buildings were erected 
by the forced labour of Israelites (1 K. 013-17, 11 28). 
One passage (920-22) states that only Canaanites 
were thus employed ; but the amalgamation of Israelites 
with the natives was probably too far advanced to 
admit of this distinction. 

Solomon's reign had three permanent results: (1) 
His tyranny roused seething discontent. Jeroboam, 
son of Nebat, an overseer of the forced labour in 
Ephraim, who is said to have been incited by a 
prophet, Ahijah tho Shilonite, attempted revolt. He 
failed for the moment, and fled to Egypt. But the 
seed of disruption was sown, and would soon bear 
fruit. (2) The absorption of wealth by the royal 
court gave rise to class hatred between rich and poor, 
and the oppression of the latter by tho former, which 
undermined the unity and vitahty of the national life. 
(3) On the other hand, tho erection of the king's 
sanctuary, tho Temple, in Jerusalem provided a nucleus 
for all that was best in the national worship, and at a 
later date became, in theory at least, the only sanctuary 
of the one and only God, Yahweh. 

9. The Disruption. — When Solomon died, Jeroboam 
returned from Egypt. To tho northern tribes, who 
were clamouring for release from the burdens of taxa- 
tion and forced labour, Rehoboam, Solomon's son, 
declared with insolent foUy that he intended to add 
to thom. This brought about the disruption, which 
was never healed. Jeroboam became king of the 
northerners, who can henceforth be called Israel, as 
distinct from Judah. 

The compiler states, " There was war between 
Rehoboam and Jeroboam continually" (1 K. I430), 
but no details are given. Rehoboam was about to 
mako an attempt to recover his lost power, but was 
dissuaded by a prophet (I221-24). Jeroboam gave 
permanence to the breach by providing for Israel a 
religious bond of union. He enriched Bethel, the 
royal sanctuary, by setting up a golden bull, as a 
symbol of Yahweh, and consecrated priests to muiister 
there. (Tho erection of the second bull, at Dan, 
is doubted by many writers.) This, as he expectod, 
proved a strong countor-attraction to the Temple 
at Jenisalem. The historian, who was imbued with 
the later spirit of tho " Deuteronomic " reform, which 
n-garded the use of all images as idolatry, and all 
non-Lovitical priesthood as invaUd, never wearies 
of denouncing Jeroboam as he " who made Isnvl to 
sin." And he n-latos the death of his child as his 
punishment, predicted by Ahijah (I41-13). and tho 
story of the prophet from Judah, who rebuked him 
at Bt^thel (13). 



68 THE HISTORY OF ISRAEL 

10. The Kings. — The history of each kingdom falls into four periods, as follows (see pp. 119f.) : 



Israel 



1. Miscellaneous kings, 937-887 B.C. . 



2. House of Orari, 887-842 



3. House of Jehu, 842-745 



4. Miscellaneous kings, 745-722 



1. Struggle towards prosperity, 937-851 



2. Paganism and weakness, 851-836 



3. Vigorous advance, 836-735 



4. Decline and fall, 735-586 



Jeroboam I 






I K. 1225-1420 




Nadab 






1525-31 




Baasha 






I527-I67 




Elah . 






1 68-10 




Zimri . 






I69-20 




. Omri . 






161^23 




Ahab . 






I629-2240 




Ahaziah 






2249, 2 K. 


I18 


Jcliorain 






2 K. 3-926 




. Jelui . 






9, 10 




Jehoahaz 






13l-9, 22f 




Jehoash 






13io-2i,24f., 14i-i6 


Jeroboam II 






1423-29 




Zeohariah 






158-12 




. Shallum 






1510-15 




Menahem 






1514-22 




Pekahiah 






1523-26 




Pekah . 






1525-31, I65-9 


Hoshea 






1530, 17i- 


23 


JUDAH 






Rehoboam . . IK. I21-24, I421-31 2 Ch. 10-12 


Abijah 


15 1-8 




13 


Asa . 


159-24 




14-16 


Jehoshaphat 


221-30 




17-211 


Jehoram 


2 K. 816-24 




21 


Ahaziah 


825-29, 916-29 


22i-9 


Athaliah . 


11 1-20 




22ic^23i5 


Joash 


11,12 




22IO-2427 


Amaziah 


14I-20 




25 


Azariah (Uzziah) 


142lf., 1 


5 1-7 


26 


Jothara 


155-7, 32-38 


27 


Ahaz . . 


16 




28 


Hezekiah . 


18-20 




2»-32 


Manasseh . 


2I1-18 




331-20 


Amon 


2110-26 




3321-25 


Josiah 


22-2330 




34,35 


Jehoahaz . 


2331-33 




36i-4 


Jchoiakim . 


2334-247 




365-8 


Jehoiachin . 


248-16, 2 


527-30 


369,10 


Zedekiah . 






2417-2522 


3611-21 



11. Israel. Political Unrest.— The bulk of Israel's 
history consists in lior relations with the foreign powers 
Aram (§ 12) and Assyria (§ 13), and with Judah (§ 14). 
And since the history was compiled by religious writers 
with a predominantly religious purpose, the internal 
events n^corded are mostly those connected with re- 
ligion. The small remainder, which may conveniently 
be sketched here, is almost confined to the confusion, 
little short of anarchy, which prevailed in tlie first 
and the last period. The Northern kingdom snatched 
from Rehoboam by Jeroboam was snatched again and 
again by others. 

Nadab, son of Jeroboam I, was besieging Gibbothon, 
a Philistine town, when ho was killed by Baasha. 
Baasha's son Elah, and the whole family, were killed 
by his captain Zimri. But Omri, who was in command 
of the siege of (Jibb-thon, was set up as king by the 
army ; and Zimri in despair burnt the palace at 
Tirzah (p. 30) over his own head. Civil war followed, 
a man named Tibni king supportx-d by " half the 
people." But Omri succeeded in defeating him. By a 
vigorous reign he Ijegan to give strength and stability 
to the country. With the eye of a good general he 
perceived the strategic strength of Samaria (p. 30), and 
made it the capital, which it continued to be until the 
northern kingdom fell, 



In the last period, Zechariah was killed by a usurper. 
Shallum, and he, a month later, by Menahem. Mena- 
hem's son Pekahiah was killed by his captain Pekah, 
and he in turn by Hoshea. The feverish unrest of 
this period was an immediate sequel of the prosperous 
reign of Jeroboam II. The country had been flooded 
with wealth, of the moral results of which Amos and 
Hosca supply terrible evidence — the rapacity of the 
rich and their cruel oppression of the poor, murders, 
drunkenness, revellings, and such like. The pohticai 
disorder reflected the social disorder, which, as the 
prophets saw already, sjxjlt ruin. The sufferings at 
the hands of Aram were as nothing compared with 
those which AssjTia would inflict. The country, 
corrupted by luxury, and divided against itself by class 
hatred, would fall a helpless prey before the great 
world-power ordained by Yahwch to be the punish- 
ment of the national sins. 

12. Israel and Aram (S%Tia). — Aram is the name as 
given in the Hebrew Bible ; Syria, the equivalent in 
the LXX and Vulg., is adopted in the English versions. 
That Israel and Aram were closely akin is shown by 
the fact that they spoke different dialects of the same 
language, and would be, for the most part, quite in- 
telligible to each other. Of the Aramaean states the 
most westerly, with Damasciis as its capital, lay ira- 



THE HISTORY OF ISRAEL 



mediately to the N. of the Lebanon range, and could 
not fail to be engaged in frequent border struggles 
with Israel. 

The defeats inflicted upon them by David, and the 
hostility of Rezon against Solomon, have already 
been mentioned. After the disruption Baasha made 
a treaty with them. But when ho invaded Judah, 
Asa, the Judpean king, bribed Benhadad I, king of 
Aram, to help him, which he did by attacking some 
Israt^lito towns, thus drawing away Baasha. Omri 
was also attacked ; he lost some towns, and ceded to 
the Aramaeans some streets or quarters in Samaria. 
That he was not crippled, however, is shown by his 
defeat of the Moabites, as related in Mesha's inscription 
(the " Moabite Stone," p. 34, 1 K. .3 1-2 7*). Subdued by 
David, they now tried to regain their independence ; in 
this they succeeded in the reign of Omri's successors. 
Against Ahab the Aramaeans made further attempts. 
Benhadad II attacked Samaria. Ahab at first acceded 
to his demands ; but when thej'^ became more extrava- 
gant he refused, and won the ensuing battle. War, 
according to custom, ceased for the winter; but in 
the following spring the Aramaeans brought a large 
force, which was again defeated so decisively that 
Ahab was in a position to dictate terms. The towns 
lost by Omri were restored, and streets in Damascus 
were ceded to Israel. In the peace which ensued, 
Ahab joined a coalition of Aramaean states in opposi- 
tion to Assyria ; but though the coalition was worsted 
at Karkar, no decisive result was reached. Ahab 
was now foolish enough to break with Aram. He per- 
suaded Jehoshaphat, the Judaean king, to join him in 
recovering Ramoth-gilead, wliich had been lost in 
one of the preceding reigns. Encouraged by a band 
of courtier prophets, but warned by the bold and 
conscientious Micaiah, son of Imlah, the two kings 
undertook the expedition. Ahab fought in disguise, 
but was mortally wounded, and the expedition failed. 

After the death of his son Ahaziah, as the result of 
a fall from a roof chamber, an incident which tradition 
connected with the prophet Ehjah (2 K. 1), another 
son, Jehoram, succeeded his brother. The Aramaeans 
now began to press heavily. But at this point Ehsha 
came to the front as the king's prophetical adviser. 
The compiler has preserved a group of narratives 
about him (2f.), preserved, as were the Ehjah stories, 
by the prophetic bands. Some of them relate his 
dealings with Aram. The course of events is some- 
what obscure, since the name of the Israelite king is 
not given in 5-8. The compiler represents the whole 
series of events as belonging to Jehoram's reign, as 
follows. The Aramaeans made several attacks, but 
the king was in each case warned by Elisha. They 
besieged the prophet in Dothan, but the troops were 
disabled bj' temporary blindness, and he led them to 
Samaria to the king. The king would have killed 
them, but EUsha persuaded him to be conciliatory. 
The result was that " the bands of Aram came no more 
into the land of Israel " (623). This sentence, and 
the friendly relations between the prophet and the 
king, suggest that the above narrative should be 
placed at a later point than Jehoram's rcign, after 
the dynasty of Omri, which was hostile to Elijah and 
Elisha, had been brought to an end. After the sen- 
tence m 23 the compiler Ixsgins, in the very next 
verse, a narrative of Benhadad's siege of Samaria. 
The town was brought to the extremity of famine. 
But Ehsha, whom the king (no doubt Jehoram) 
blamed as the cause of the trouble, and determined 
to put to death, predicted that food would soon be 
cheap. That night a panic dispersed the enemy, and 



they fled from their camp. Four lepers, who had 
gone thither to give themselves up in the hope of food, 
reported the fact in the city, and the camp was at 
once looted by the famished population. To the same 
reign probably belongs the well-known story of 
Naaman (5). 

The punishment of the dynasty of Omri was de- 
liberately designed by Elisha. Benhadad II was a 
weak king, who indulged in drink when he should 
have been fighting ; and he now lay seriously ill. 
Elisha was evidently in private comnmnication with 
Damascus. He went thither, and incited Hazael, an 
Aramaean military officer, to assassinate his master 
and seize the crown. He also sent a young member 
of his prophetic band to anoint Jehu, then an Israelite 
captain, who was fighting at Ramoth-gilead, which 
Jehoram was attempting, as his father had done, to 
recover with the help of the Judaean king, Ahaziah. 
Jehu's savage attack upon the royal famiUcs of N. 
and S. will be related below (§ 18). 

Hazael, having followed Elisha's hint, and usurped 
the Aramaean throne, began a series of formidable 
inroads upon Israel. Ho is eaid to have won from 
Jehu all the Israelite territory E. of the Jordan. He 
even attacked Gath and Judah ; but Joash, the Judaean 
king, sent him a heavy payment, and he retired 
(12i7f.). Then Hazael and Benhadad III, his son 
and successor, continued their victories, so that 
Jehoahaz, the next king of Israel, was reduced to 
extremities. But at this crisis " Yahweh gave Israel 
a saviour, so that they went out from under the hand 
of Aram" (IBs). This refers either to Jehoash, tho 
next king, or to the fact that tho Assyrians now ap- 
peared in the W., and Jehoash was able, by three im- 
portant victories, to turn the tide of defeat. His 
work was continued by Jeroboam II, who gained a 
series of brilliant victories, bringing the country to 
the highest state of prosperity that it ever reached. 
(The moral results of this have already been indicated 
in § 11.) But Ass3Tia was now rising to the zenith 
of her power, and tho small western states were help- 
less. The rapid advance of Israel was followed by as 
rapid a fall. A vain attempt to avert the onslaught 
of Assyria was made in the reign of Pekah, by an 
alliance between Israel and Aram. This will be 
related in the next section. 

13. Israel and Assyria. — As soon as Assyria, under 
Ashumasirpal, began her movement into Western 
Asia, the fate of the little kingdom of Israel may be 
said to have been sealed. Omri was known to the 
Assyrians ; his successful reign had been important 
enough to cause their inscriptions to speak of Israel 
as " the land of the house of Khumri " (Omri), and 
even Jehu is mistakenly called the son of Omri. The 
earhest hostile contact was at Karkar, where Ahab, 
as already stated, was in conjunction with some 
Aramaean states. Shalmaneser III (tiU recentl; 
called II) attacked Aram, and ultimately besieged 
Hazael in Damascus. Jehu, as well as Tj'^ro and 
Sidon, warded off an attack by paying tribute, as 
related on the " Black Obelisk," wlvich fixes tho date 
as 842 B.C. The next AssjTian king, Shamshi-ramman, 
was occupied for a short time in his own country, and 
Hazael took advantage of the interval to gain his 
victories over Jehu and Jehoahaz. But in the reign 
of the latter the Assyrians reappeared under Rammaa- 
nirari III, and Israel was then reUeved from the 
Aramaean pressure. During the reign of Jeroboam II 
the Assyrians, under three of their kings, were again 
occupied at home, defending themselves against 
enemies ; this gave the Israelite king the opportunity 



70 



THE HISTORY OF ISRAEL 



for Ilia extended Bucoesses. But Israel's fall was at 
hand. In the midst of the disorders which followed 
the overthrow of Jehu's dynasty by iShalluin's murder 
of Zechariah. the Assyrians again came westward 
under Tiglath-pileser III, or Pul. Directly ho ap- 
peared, Menahem paid him tribute, together with 
Rezon of Damascus and Hiram of Tyre. The two 
great powers, Assyria and Egypt, were now in close 
proximity, separated only by tne debateable ground 
of the small Palestinian states. When the A^8^Tians 
retired, Israel became divided against itself in its 
foreign policy. One party supported the king in 
submission to Assyria, but the other wished to buy 
the help of Egj'pt. Hosea pictures in despairing lan- 
guage the hopelessness of the situation {e.g. Has. 7ii, 
12i). At last Pekah took the lead of the pro- Egyptian 
party, killed Pekahiah, Menahem's son, and joined a 
coalition against AssjTia consisting of Damascus, 
TjTe, Sidon, Ashkelon, and Gaza. But to make suc- 
cess possible all the Palestinian states must join. 
When Judah refused, Pekah, with Rezin (better 
Rezon) of Damascus, tried to force Ahaz the king by 
raiding Judah, and even investing Jenisalera (Is. 7i). 
But before thcj' could take the city the Assyrians 
suddenly appeared in Northern Israel, in 734. (The 
action of Ahaz at this crisis will be related in § 16.) 
They crushed the coalition, annexing most of the terri- 
tory N. of the plain of Jezreel, and deported the popu- 
lation to Assyria, and then prevented any help coming 
from Egypt by capturing Ashkelon and Gaza. Pekah 
was killed by Hoshea, a member of the pro-Assyrian 
party, and Pul placed him on the throne, subject, of 
course, to tribute. This he paid as long as Pul lived. 
But at his death in 727 there was a general revolt 
against his successor, Shalmaneser V. At his approach 
Hoshea did homage and brought tribute, but directly 
his back was turned, Hoshea in 725-4 appealed to 
Egypt, then in the hands of an Ethiopian usurper, 
a military captain named So or Sibi. Before ho could 
send help, Shalmaneser besieged Samaria, after cap- 
turing Hoshea. The town, being too strong to be 
stormed, was reduced by famine. Before its capture 
Shalmaneser died, but it was completed by his suc- 
cessor, Sargon, in 723. Ahnost the entire population 
waa deported to Assyria, and foreign conquered nations 
from the E. were settled in their place. 

These heterogeneous peoples followed their various 
cults, the amalgamation of which with the worship of 
Yahweh is described in 2 K. I724-41. Their numbers 
were afterwards increased by further importations 
(Ezr. 42, gf.). The community became known as the 
Samaritans. 

14. Israel and Judah. — The compiler of 1 and 2 
Kinrje has arranged a scheme of synchronisms for the 
kings of Israel and Judah, but it is sometimes arti- 
ficial and of no historical value. The precise over- 
lappings of the several reigns are (juite unimjiortant. 
All that need be studied are the occasions when the 
two kingdoms come into contact. As has already 
been pointed out, they were never really one nation 
in a political sense, but only in religion, although a 
precarious unity had been maintained under David 
and Solomon. Judah lasted a century longer than 
Israel, but for some 2r>() years they existed side by 
side. During the <iynasty of Omri they preserved a 
mutual alliance, but before and after it their contact 
was always collision. 

The folly of Rehoboam, which led to the disruption, 
and the steps taken by Jeroboam to make the breach 
permanent, have been mentioned in § 9. The com- 
piler, who states that " there was war between Reho- 



boam and Jeroboam oontinually," makes a similar 
remark about Abijah and Jeroboam (1 K. I07), but, 
as before, no details are given ; and again about Asa 
and Baaaha. In this case we learn that Baasha in- 
vaded Judah, and lortiQed Ramah, a few miles north 
of Jerusalem, as an outpost from which to harass the 
enemy. But Asa bribed the Aramseans to draw away 
Baasha (§ 12), and demolished Ramah. 

The dynasty of Omri brought a thirty years' in- 
terlude in the hostilities. Ahab began by seeking 
the help of Jehoshaphat in the disastrous attempt 
to recover Ramoth-gilead from the Aramseana (§ 12). 
A Uttlo later, the same Judaean king was approached 
by Ahab's son. Jehoshaphat had made himself master 
of Ezion-geber, and, like Solomon, had built a fleel 
to trade along the Arabian coasts. His first expedition 
failed, the ships being " broken," either by a storm 
or enemies. But when Ahaziah ofiEered to join him 
in manning another fleet, Jehoshaphat declined. This, 
however, does not seem to have caused friction, for 
soon afterwards Jehoshaphat was again fighting in con- 
junction with Israel. The Moabites, defeated by Omri, 
had recently rebelled from Israel's suzerainty. Jeho- 
ram, Ahaziah's brother, tried to reduce them, and 
persuaded Jehoshaphat to join him, together with the 
Edomites, who were at that time subject to Judah. 
They approached from the southern end of the Dead 
Sea, to take the Moabites in the rear, but in doing 
so were in want of water. Elisha, roused to prophetic 
ecstasy by music, bade them dig trenches. In the 
morning the water in the trenches looked crimson, 
perhaps with the early sunlight. The Moabites, 
thinking it was blood, and that the allied armies had 
begun to slaughter one another, advanced incautiously 
and were routed. But the victory was not decisive. 
The Moabite king, besieged in Kir-hareseth, and 
reduced to despair, sacrifaced his son on the city 
wall ; and the allied armies were so terrified at the 
wrath of Chemosh, the Moabite god, that they with- 
drew. 

The alliance, however, did not cease. It was 
further cemented by the marriage of Jehoram, king 
of Judah, to Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and 
Jezebel. It also led to one more joint action. 
Ahaziah, son of the last king and of Athahah, gave 
his help to Jehoram of Israel in another attempt to 
recover Ramoth-gilead. But it failed. Jehoram was 
wounded and returned to Jezreel, where he was visited 
by Ahaziah, Both were there put to death by Jehu. 
The house of Omri was thus brought to an end, and 
never again was there a possibility of alliance between 
Israel and Judah. 

It wjvs jierhapK with a view to avenging the Jud.fan 
blood shed by .Jehu that Amazlah challencod to battlo 
Jehoash, Jehu's grandson. Amaziah was elated at t» 
recent victory over the Edomites (§ 15), and the severe 
losses recently suffered by Israel at the hands of the 
Arama?ans (§ 12) may have seemed to offer him a 
favourable opportimitv. But Israel was making a 
quick recovery from her losses. Jehoash replied to 
Amaziah with the scornful parable of the thistle that 
wanted his son to inarry the cedar's daughter. But 
Amaziah persisted, and suffen^d a eevore defeat at Beth- 
shomesh. Jehoash brought him back to Jerusalem, 
when> he destroyed part of the wall, and took heavy 
payment and hostages. The ix-ojilo were so angry with 
Amaziah that they put him to death and placed his 
son on the throne. 

Tho only remaining occasion on which Israel and 
Judah came into contact was tho Syro-Ephraimito 
attack, by which Pekah and Rezon (Rezin) sought to 



THE HISTORY OF ISRAEL 



71 



force Ahaz to join their coalition against Assyria 
(§§ 12, 16). 

15. Judah and Neighbouring Peoples. — As in the 

caso of Israel, the bulk of Judah's secular history 
consists of hor relations with foreign powers. From 
the time when Israel fell, Assyria and then Babylon 
filled the whole outlook. But conflicts with powers 
nearer home may first be briefly noticed. From a 
military point of view Judah was singularly insig- 
nificant. It was small — about the size of Lincoln- 
shire — and unwarlike. Its only chance of existence, 
as the prophets saw, lay in its mountainous seclusion. 
But its rulers persistently refused to n^alise its limita- 
tions, and plunged it frequently into foreign turmoils. 
Rehoboam, having hopelessly failed to retain his 
hold on the northern tribes, suffered a further reverse at 
the hands of Egj-pt. Shishak (Sheshonk I), a Libyan 
who had usurped the Egyptian throne from the Pharaoh 
with whom Solomon had been in alliance, invaded Judah, 
and even Israel, although he had been friendly to 
Jeroboam I (p. 58, 1 K. 14-25"). He carried off the large 
treasure with which Solomon had enriched the Temple 
and palace. Asa, when attacked by Baasha, would 
have met with yet another defeat if he had not called 
in the help of the Aramaeans (§ 12). Jehoshaphat was 
more successful He seems to have gained possession 
of the Philistine town Libnah (2 K. 822) ; and, still 
holding the suzerainty over Edom (ib.) which gave 
him control over Ezion-geber, with its port Elath on 
the GuK of Akaba, he built a fleet for trading purposes, 
which, however, was destroyed (§ 14). His expeditions 
with Aliab at Ramoth-gilead, and with Jehoram to 
reduce the Moabites, have been related, and belong 
rather to the history of Israel than of Judah. His 
weak successor, Jehoram, lost Libnah, and Edom at 
the same time successfully revolted, although in 821 
there seems to be an obscure account of a victory over 
it. But access to the Red Sea, which he had lost, 
was a tempting prize, which was again won by Amaziah 
in a battle witli Edom in the Valley of Salt, when he 
captured the fortress of Sela (Hy). Elath remained 
in Judah's hands during the successful rule of Azariah 
(Uzziah) and his regent son, Jotham ; but the use 
which tney made of it was of no interest to the com- 
piler, Ahaz, hke Jehoram, was a weak man, who 
last all that had been gained. In the SjTo-Ephraimite 
invasion of Judah, Rezon (Rezin) " recovered Ela'h for 
Aro-Tn [read Edom] "(1(36). Hezeklah was more capable; 
but the only victories recorded of him m Kings are those 
by which he defeated the Philistines in and around 
Gaza (188). All the remaining instances of Judsean 
enterprise which the compiler preserves must be studied 
in connexion with Assyria (§16) and Babylon (§ 17). 

16. Judah and Assyria. — The tragic history of 
Judah's relations with the great Asiatic power can 
be told more fully, material being provided not only 
in Assyrian inscriptions, but also in the preaching of 
Isaiah. In her hilly isolation, at a distance from the 
main highroads which cormected Egj7)t with the N. 
and E., it might have been possible for Judah to remain 
intact. As Isaiah said : " In quietness and confidence 
Bhall be your strength." But a bold and far-seeing 
policy counts for nothing in the face of panic. Wlien 
Tiglath-Pileser III (Pul) ha<^l begun his victories over 
the western states, Pekah of Israel and Rozon (Rezin) 
of Damascus raided Judah in order to force Ahaz to 
join their coalition, or, failing that, to depose him and 
to place on the Judaean throne a Ben-Tabeel, a puppet 
of their own (Is. 76). The result was a panic in 
Jerusalem (2), and Ahaz dotcmiined to renounce 
hifl independence and to pay tributo to Assyria. At 



. this crisis Isaiah came forward, and tried hard to 
persuade the king (1-16) and the people (81-15) 
that Pekah and Rezin were not formidable ; that 
within a very few years they would be swept away 
by Assyria ; and that, if Judah would only remain 
quiet and trust in Yahweh, she would suffer no harm ; 
but if she refused Yahweh's help, imagining it to be 
as feeble as the small, shallow waters of Shiloah, and 
hired the help of Assyria, the latter would sweep over 
the country with a torrent hke that of the Euphrates ; 
the policy of Ahaz would be an apparent success 
in averting the immediate Syro-Ephraimite danger, 
but Judah would be finally " shaved " clean by the 
very " razor " hired to help her (72o). But Ahaz waa 
infatuated with his own plan, and would not listen. 
He paid tribute (2 K. 167f.) — quite urmecessarily, as 
laaiah had foreseen, since Assyria would have attacked 
Pekah and Rezin in any case. In the next year (734) 
Tiglath-Pileser captured Gaza, in 733 the northera 
districts of Israel, and in 732 Damascus. In 724 
Hoshea revolted, and the northern kingdom fell (§ 13). 
" Henceforward, instead of a kindred people, Judah 
had on its northern border, which lay but an easy 
day's walk from Jerusalem, an AssjTian province and 
a mixed population " (Gray). 

During the j^ears 734-711 Judah seems to have re- 
mained in submission to Assyria, giving no help either 
to the northern kingdom at the time of its collapse, 
or to Hamath when it revolted and was subdued in 
720. Earlier, probably, than these two events Ahaz 
died, and thus did not witness the evils that his pohcy 
was destined to produce. In 720 Sargon also defeated 
Gaza and an Egyptian force at Raphia, in the S. of 
Philistia, but Judah was apparently untouched. But 
in 711, when Hezekiah was on the Judsean throne, a 
combined revolt was started which included Judah 
(Is. 20'), Ashdod, Moab, and Edom, with help from 
Egypt and Ethiopia. This was quelled by Sargon'a 
" Tartan " or officer. But intrigue was in the air. 
2 K. 2O12-19 (Is. 39) describes an embassy sent to 
Jerusalem by Merodach Baladan, which Hezekiah 
favourably received, bringing upon himself a stem 
warning from Isaiah. Merodach Baladan was a Chal- 
dean who had made himself master of Babylon. If 
the Biblical narrative is historically trustworthy, 
which some writers doubt, the embassy may have been 
sent when he had been driven out of Babylon by 
Sargon in 709. 

In 705 Sargon was succeeded on the Assyrian throne 
by Sennacherib. This was the signal for another 
revolt by Judah and Philistia, fostered by an Ethiopian 
dyn asty in Egypt. In 70 1 the Assyrians came, as before, 
along the coast road to Philistia, and Sennacherib 
defeated Ashkelon and Ekron. The latter had de- 
posed their king, Padi, who must have favoured sub- 
mission to Assyria, and had sent him in chains to 
Hezekiah. But, after winning a victory at Eltekeh, 
the Assyrian troops overran Judah, and Padi was 
restored. Their inscription states that they captured 
forty-six fortified towns and many smaller ones, and 
200,150 inliabitants ; and Jerusalem was blockaded, 
Hezekiah being shut up " like a caged bird." But 
the city was not captured. Hezekiah submitted and 
sent a large tribute to Nineveh, whither Sennacherib 
had, for some reason, retired before the end of the 
Juda?an campaign. With this account agrees the 
brief statement in 2 K. I813-16 ( = Is. 36i). But some 
other narratives are appended: (1) In I817-I97 
( = Is. 862-377) it is related that, after capturing the 
Judsean towns, Sennacherib sent from I^Achish an 
oflScer, the " Ralwhakeh." to demand the surrender of 



72 



THE HISTORY OF ISRAEL 



Jerasalem ; hut Isaiah encouraged Hezekiah to hold 
out, declaring that Sennacherib " shall hear a rumour 
and shall return unto hia own land." According to 
this sentence his departure is as sudden and unex- 
plained as in the inscription. But (2) in I935-37 
( = 18. 3736-38) there is the famous account of the 
Assyrian soldiery, smitten " by an angel of Yahweh " — 
i.e. probably by pestilence — and this seems to Ije given 
as the reason for iSonnacherib's departure. And 
finally, (3) between these accounts stands yet another 
narrative in 198-34 ( = l3. 378-35), according to which 
Sennacherib at Lachish, hearing that Tirhakah of 
Ethiopia was advancing against him, sent messengers 
to Jerusalem to intimidate Hezekiah. The king took 
the letter into the Temple and prayed to Yahweh to 
defend the city ; and Isaiah encouraged him, declaring 
that the city would not be injured. This seems to be 
partly a duplicate of the first of the three narratives, but 
probably confused with a record of a later event, since 
it seems certain that Tirhakah was not king of Ethiopia 
before 694. The mention of him would be explained if 
Sennacherib, as is possible, was again called to Syria 
c. 690. Thus the details of his inva-sion are uncertain ; 
but two fsicts are clear, that Jerusalem was not cap- 
tured, and that Judah continued to be tributary to 
Assyria. 

Under Esarhaddon, to whom Manasseh acknowledged 
vassalage by paying tribute, and under his successor 
Afishur-barii-pal (Heb. Osnappar), Assj-ria lose to her 
highest pinnacle of power. Both these monarchs 
transplanted some of their captives to join the already 
mixed population in the region of Samaria (Ez. 42, gf.). 
The latter even invaded Eg\^t, and captured No- 
Amon (Thebes) in 660 (Nah. 38-io). But only fifty- 
three years later Ass3'ria fell, never to rise again. 
Isaiah had been confident that her pride would some 
day be abased (Is. IO5-34) ; Zephaniah had declared, 
early in Josiah's reijrn, that she would share the ruin 
which the day of Yahweh would bring to many nations 
(Zeph. 2) ; and Nahum, his contemporary, perceiving 
that with all her splendour she was internally rotten, 
spent his short utterance in proclaiming her fall. 
The Medes under Cyaxares and the Chaldeans under 
Nabopolassar, the founder of the new Babylonian 
empire, unite<l against her. At the moment when her 
power began to wane, Necho, the Pharaoh of Egypt, 
attempted to gain part of her dominions. Josiah, 
who in the absence of AssjTian forces had assumed 
authority over parts of Northern Israel, unwisely 
dared to resist his passage ; he met his untimely death 
at Megiddo in the plain of Jezreel, and Necho passed 
on. Jehoahaz, the younger son of Josiah, was made 
king by the people. But Necho, on his return three 
months later, sent for him to Riblah on the Orontes, 
and dispatched him in chains to Egypt — an event 
bitterly lamented by Jeremiah (22io-i2) — and placed 
on the throne as a tributary vassal Josiah's elder son, 
Jehoiakim. But the Chaldeans (Babylonians) were 
now rising with irresistible leaps to power. It was 
their impending advance which drew from Habakkuk 
his cry of perplexity. The fall of Nineveh in 607, and 
the defeat of Necho by Nebuchadrezzar, son of Nabo- 
polassar, at Carchemitih in 604 (Jer. 462-26), were 
epoch-makintr events. Had Egypt won at Carchcmish, 
and retained her hold upon Judah, the subsequent 
history and religious development of the chosen people 
would have been completely different. 

17. Judah and Babylon. — Necho's defeat made 
Judah tributary to Babylon instead of to Egypt. It 
was obvious, in the circumstances, that her only chance 
of existence lay in quiet submission ; but king and 



people alike failed to see it. Jehoiakim began to 
surround himself with wealth and luxury, with its 
inevitable accompaniments of oppression and injustice 
(Jer. 2213-17). Tiie true prophets were despised, 
especially the greatest of them, Jeremiah. Amid hatred 
and persecution he stood forth and declared, in season 
and out of season, that submission to Babylon would 
alone avert utter destruction. He collected his earlier 
prophecies, and Baruch, his scribe, read them to the 
people at the time of a national fast held in view of 
the approaching periL The princes took the roll, and 
Jehudi began to read it to the king ; but he cut it in 
pieces and threw it into the fire. He sent to arrest 
Jeremiah, " but Yahweh hid him." And the prophet 
again made Baruch write out the prophecies, adding 
many of his later utterances (369-32). His words were 
echoed by a prophet named Urijah, but he was so 
fiercely persecuted that he fled to Egypt. The king, 
however, sent for him, and he was put to death(262o-23). 
Jeremiah was barely saved on another occasion from 
a similar fate (1-19,24). He was tried in the Temple 
court, and condemned to death. He deliberately 
reiterated his warnings, but was rescued by Ahikam, 
son of Josiah's secretary, Shaphan, and some of the 
elders, who reminded them that Micah had similarly 
foretold the destruction of the city (Mi. 3i2). 

In 597 Jehoiakim took the suicidal step of revolting 
from Babylon. Aramaeans, Moabites, and Ammon- 
ites, who were all tributary to Babylon, overran Judah, 
and many inhabitants of the villages fled into the 
capital. Jeremiah continued to predict destruction, 
and was attacked and put into the public stocks until 
the next day by Passhur, the chief officer of the Temple. 
At this critical moment Jehoiakim was fortunate 
enough to die, leaving his son. Coniah (or Jeconiah), 
as his successor, to suffer the Chaldean attack He 
took the name Jehoiachin at his accession. Jeremiah 
saw what his end would be (2224-30). He was king 
for only three months. Egypt could give no help 
since Carchcmish (2 K. 24;), and the Chaldeans be- 
sieged the city. The king at once surrendered, and 
was carried to Babylon with the queen-mother, the 
court, and the best elements in Judah, including 7000 
soldiers and 1000 artisans (2 K. 24io-i6, Jer. I318.19). 
These, base as they were, Jeremiah contrasted favour- 
ably with the population left behind ; they were aa 
good and bad figs (Jer. 24). During the latter years 
of his hfe in exile Jehoiachin was kindly treated. 
Evil-Merodach (Amil-Marduk), the successor of Nebu- 
chadrezzar, took him out of prison and allowed him 
to live as a prince (0231-34). 

Zedeklah, a younger son of Josiah, and uncle of 
Jehoiachin, was placed on the throne by Nebuchad- 
rezzar as his tributary vassal. If he had continued 
to pay the tribute all would have been well. But 
soon after his accession he was invited by the kings 
of Moab, Ammon, and Tyre to join with them in revolt. 
Jeremiah was straining every ner^'e to prevent this. 
His chief opponent was a prophet named Hananiah, 
who declared that within two years the exiles would 
return from Babylon (281-4). Jeremiah had been 
wearing a wooden yoke to add visible emphasis to hia 
warnings. Hananiah broke it in pieces, but Jeremiah 
retorted that the yoke of wood upon the neck of the 
nation would be exchanged for a yoke of iron. And 
he predicted that Hananiah would die within twelve 
months, which came to pass (2810-17). But the 
fanatical belief that Yahweh would interpose for His 
people by a miracle was maintained by many of the 
exiles, who held frequent correspondence with Jeru- 
salem. Jeremiah gives the substance of a letter from 



THE HISTORY OF ISRAEL 



73 



a certain Sheinaiali to the priests in the capital, asking 
why the prophet had not been put in the stocks for 
his troublesome preaching. But Zephaniah the priest 
showed him the letter. Jeremiah himself wrote to 
the exiles imploring them to live in quiet submission, 
and warning them against the utterances of false 
prophets (29). But it was all of no avail. Ezekiel, 
a priest among the exiles, delivered the same message 
as Jeremiah, but it fell on deaf ears. In 588 Judah 
plunged into revolt. Zedekiah joined with Moab and 
Ammon in asking Egypt for help. In order to please 
Yahweh and induce Him to help them, they made a 
solemn covenant, releasing all Hebrew slaves (348- lo) : 
c/. the regulations in Dt. 15i2f. This would inci- 
dentally increase the number of those who would be 
willing to defend the city. Nebuchadrezzar at once 
came to Jerusalem at the beginning of 587. But 
just as he began the siege an Egyptian force appeared 
under Pharaoh Hophra, and the Chaldeans for the 
moment retired to repulse them (Jer. 37ii). This 
made the people think that they had been deUvered, 
and having gained from Yahweh what they wanted, 
they broke their covenant and took back into slavery 
the Hebrews whom they had freed (34ii). 

Jeremiah in the moment of respite was starting out 
to his home at Anathoth, when he was seized and 
charged with attempting to desert to the enemy. He 
was put in prison, till the king, weak and vacillating 
in his fear both of the enemy and of his own nobles, 
sent for him. But the prophet, as before, persisted 
that his only hope lay in submission. The nobles 
then let him down into a noisome cistern. But a 
black slave at the palace, on reporting it to the king, 

1 was allowed to release him, and Jeremiah was kept 
safe in the court of the guard. He again advised the 
king to submit to Babylon, but he was too weak to 

; stand out against the popular fanaticism (37f.). 

I The siege lasted, with all the horrors of famine, for a 
year and a half, when the enemy forced an entrance. 

' Zedekiah tried to flee, but was caught and taken to 
Riblah. Thence, with the mass of the population, 
he was carried to Babylon. The Chaldean officer 
Nebuzaradan was left to collect the treasures of the 
city and Temple, to throw down the walls, and to 
destroy the buildings with fire, including the Temple 
and palace (39i-9). Hearing that Jeremiah had coun- 
selled submission, Nebuzaradan allowed him to choose 
whether he would go to Babylon or remain at home, 
and he chase the latter (40i-6). 

It must not be supposed that Judaoa was depleted of 
all its inhabitants. Many had fled to the surrounding 
countries before the siege. But the great majority con- 
sisted of the poorest of the peasantry. There is some 
probability, however, that a number of priest-s, who 
had been deprived of their country sanctuaries by the 
♦' Deuteronomic" reform, now came together and earned 
on the worship of the community. The Chaldeans 
appointed a Juda>an named Gedaliah, son of Ahikam. 
as governor, who settled at Mizpah, and showed signs of 
being a very competent ruler, and was sensible enough 
to advocate submission to Babylon (Jer. 4O7-12). 
All might have gone well but for an act of treachery. 
A Judsean, named Ishmael, was sent by the Ammonilo 
king to assassinate Gedahah. The latter was warned 
by Johanan, son of Kareah, but he was too generous 
to believe the report. He gave Ishmael hospitality 
at Mizpah, and then Ishmael murdered him, and many 
of the Juda?an3 who were with him, and even the 
Chaldean soldiers on guard in the town. Two days later 
eighty men who had come from the norlli lu offer 
Bacritice were inveigled into the town and killed in 



cold blood. Ishmael then carried off the remainder 
of the people in Mizpah, and started to take them to 
the king of Ammon (40i3-41io). But Johanan 
pursued him with a band of soldiers, so that he left 
his captives and fled. Johanan now determined, in 
order to escape the wrath of the Babylonians, to take 
to Egypt those whom he had rescued. They inquired 
of Jeremiah whether it was Yahweh's will. Ho re- 
plied, as strongly as he could, tliat it was not. But 
after asking for his advice they refused to follow it, 
and carried off both him and Baruch to Egypt, and 
settled at Tahpanhes (41ii-437). There, in spite of 
his continued preaching, they lapsed into idolatry, 
declaring that it was their worship of Yahweh which 
had led to the destruction of Jerusalem, which He had 
been unable to defend. Jeremiah replied that Yahweh 
would deliver the Egyptians into the hands of the 
Babylonians (44). 

18. Religious History ol Israel and Judah. — The 
course of Israel's religious thought forms the subject- 
of a special article (pp. 81-97), but the events re- 
lated to it must be briefly sketched. From the time 
that David carried the Ark up to Mt. Zion, Jerusalem 
became the cliief centre of the worship of Yahweh, 
although there were many sanctuaries and " high 
places " in all parts of the countr}\ The popular 
mind, indeed, was for the most part unable to dis- 
tinguish between the worship of Yahweh, whom they 
called Baal (Lord), and that of the Canaanite Baalim. 
The religious importance of Jerusalem was greatly 
enhanced by the erection of Solomon's Temple. It 
became the royal sanctuarj', served by a succession 
of priests who rapidlj' advanced in wealth and im- 
poi-tance. Jeroboam I realised that this might be- 
come a bond of union between the northern and the 
southern tribes, and this he proceeded to prevent by 
setting up golden bulls at Bethel ( ? and Dan), as re- 
lated in § 9. But though the religion of Yahweh was 
officially recognised by royal authority, the Canaanite 
cults continued in both kingdoms side by side with it. 
Asa made an attempt to put a stop to some of its worst 
features in Judah by removing many of the kedeshim 
(EV. " sodomites "), persons dedicated to immorality 
in connexion with the cult of the Baalim, and destroy- 
ing many of the Canaanite images, including " an 
abominable image for Asherah " erected by the queen- 
mother Maacah, whom he deposed from her official 
position. And Jehoshaphat continued his efforts, 
removing kedeshim, who stUl remained in the country. 
But in the days of Ahab the worshippers of Yahweh 
in the northern kingdom were faced by a new peril. 
Ahab married Jezebel, the daughter of Ethbaal, king 
of Zidon. She was a woman of a dominating force of 
character, which resulted in the official establishment 
of the Tyrian Baal-worship as the royal cult. Her 
priest-prophets usurped the northern sanctuaries, and 
she started a violent persecution against the prophets 
of Yahweh, many of whom, however, were secretly 
assisted by Obadiah, one of Aliab's chief officers. 
The crisis called forth two champions, Elijah and 
Jehu, who stood out as defenders of Yahweh-worship. 
The narratives related of the former are contained 
in a collection of stories handed down in prophetic 
circles (1 K. 17-19, 2I17-29 ; 2 K. If.). They are of 
great literary beauty and dramatic interest, and show 
a massiveness of conception which reflects the im- 
pression which must have been exercised on his con- 
temporaries by Yahweh's protagonist. The prophet 
appeared suddenly before Ahab, and rebuked him for 
his Baal-worship ; and then, in the splendid scene on 
Mt. Carmel, he managed to bring over the populace 

3a 



74 



THE HISTORY OF ISRAEL 



to his side, so that they slaughtered many of the Baal 
priest-prophets. For this Jezebel sought his life, and 
he Hed. In a fit of despondency ho imagined that ho 
was alone in his loyalty to Yahweh, hut there was, 
in reality, a large number of true worshippers left. 
Nevertheless much remained to be done. The mis- 
chief had spread into Judah, the southern king, Je- 
horam, having married Athaliah, the daughter of 
Ahab and Jezebel, a woman whose personal force was 
hardly less than her mother's. As queen-mothor 
when Jehoram died, she doubtless exercised a strong 
influence over his successor, Ahaziah. And now the 
second chief champion appeared. When Elisha had 
succeeded Elijah as head of the prophetic bands, he 
incited Jehu to usurp the crown from the northern 
king, Jehoram (§ 12). Jehu went far to stamp out 
the Tyrian worsliip by a series of massacres. He first 
killed Jehoram of Israel with his own hands, and also 
pursued Ahaziah of Judah and caused him to be put 
to death (2 K. 9i6-28). He then entered Jezreel, 
where Jezebel, at his ordera, was thrown by her 
servants from the window of the palace (30-37). 
In terror of his savagery the elders of Samaria killed 
Ahab's seventy sons at his bidding, and sent to liim 
their heads in baskets (lOi-io). He also caught and 
massacred forty-two kinsmen of Ahaziah, and all the 
remaining members of the " house of Aliab in Jezreel, 
and all his great men, and his familiar friends, and liis 
priests" (IO11-14). He next drove to Samaria, in 
company with Jehonadab, a member of the elan of 
Rechab, who were alwaj's the sternest supporters of 
the ancient worship of Yahweh. There " he smote all 
that remained unto ^Uiabin Samaria " (15-17). Having 
thus nearly wiped out both the royal houses, he sum- 
moned all the priests and worshippers of Baal as 
though for a sacrifice to their god, and ruthlessly 
massacred them all in their temple (18-28). This 
furious revolution, though it attained its immediate 
object in the northern kingdom, was condemned a little 
lat<?r by Hosea (I4). 

With all his zeal, however, Jehu did not succeed in 
killing Athaliah. For six years longer she carried on 
the Baal-worship in Jerusalem, though she was evi- 
dently unpopular. She began by putting to death 
every male member of the family who could dispute 
the crown with her, except Ahaziah's infant son, 
Joash, who was rescued by his father's sister, Jehosheba, 
wife of the priest Jehoiada. She hid him and his 
nurse in a lumber-room, and kept him secretly for six 
years. AMien the boy was seven years old Jehoiada 
determined to put him on the throne, and to make an 
attempt to restore the true religion. The army swore 
allegiance, and on a Sabbath the child was crowned 
in the Temple court. Athaliah dramatically came in, 
and cried, " Treason, treason ! " She was executed 
when she had left the precincts (2 K. II1-16). As 
Joash was so young, Jehoiada acted as regent, and at 
once set about the longed-for reform. The temple of 
Baal, and its altars and images, were destroyed, and 
its priest put to death (i7f.). But the repair of 
Yahweh's neglected Temple was not so quickly accom- 
plished. Jehoiada allotted certain moneys to the 
priests, out of which they were themselves to defray 
all the expenses of the repairs. But they simply 
appropriated it and did nothing ; and until the king 
was old enough to support him with authority Jehoiada 
seems to have been imable to check the abuse. But 
when the king took the matter up, money was col- 
lected in a chest at the entrance to the Temple, which 
the priests could not handle ; and thus the repairs 
were at last accomplished (I24-15). 



The Tyrian Baal-worship was now no longer offi- 
cially countenanced in either kingdom. But tho 
country was still permeated as before by the common 
Baalim cults. At the end of the prosperous reign of 
Jeroboam II, Hosea draws a lamentable picture of 
the social and religious condition of Israel, addressing 
his nation as Yahweh's unfaithful wife who " hired 
lovers " — i.e. worshipped the Canaanite gods instead 
of Yahweh, and at the same time hankered alternately 
for the help of Assyria and Egypt instead of trusting 
in the protection of her Husband. Contemporary 
with Jeroboam II was Uzziah of Judah, wth hiB 
regent son Jotham. Under their rule Judah was no 
less prosperous than Israel ; the same condition of 
things prevailed, and Isaiah similarly denounced the 
social rottenness and the deep-seated tendency to 
idolatry which he saw around him. Under Ahaz 
things grew worse. He made a deliberate attempt to 
establish pagan worship with royal authority. To the 
ordinary Canaanite practices he added the revolting 
hon-ors of Molech rites, setting an example of child 
sacrifice by burning his own son in the fire. When he 
went to meet Tiglath-Pileser at Damascus in order to 
pay his tribute (§ 16), he was attracted by an altar 
used by the Aramaeans, and caused a copy of it to be 
made for the Temple at Jerusalem, substituting it 
for the sacred bronze altar for the purpose of sacrifice. 
The latter he removed to one side of the court, and 
used it for divination. Hezekiah, doubtless owing to 
Isaiah's influence, made a serious effort to restore a 
purer worship. Besides the C'anaanito high places and 
images which he removed, there was, strangely enough, 
a bronze serpent which had been an object of worship 
in Jerusalem for so long that its origin was forgotten, 
and tradition ascribed it to Moses. On its name 
Nehushtan, see 2 K. I84*. This image the king broke 
in pieces. The reform, however, was short-lived, and 
paganism returned in full force under Manasseh, who 
made a thoroughgoing attempt to restore foreign 
cults. Not only Canaanite altars were set up, but 
also altars to the sun, moon, and stars, a practice 
learnt from the Far East ; and the terrible Molech 
sacrifices were revived. Not content with this, the 
king tried to force the people of Jerusalem by j)er3e- 
cution to apostatize from Yahweh, and the streets of 
the city ran with blood. And his deadly work was 
continued during the short reign of his son, Amon. 
But the darkest hour is that which precetlcs the dawn. 
The blood of the mart^TS was the seed of a reforming 
community. The religious teaching of Isaiah must 
have had lasting effects ; through his group of dis- 
ciples (Is, 816) the desire for purity of worship and 
belief must have spread. And Hezekiah's refoi-ming 
acts shew that the leaven wivs at work. Manasseh's 
reign of terror only intensified the longhigs for a 
thorough purging of Israel's life horn primitive, un- 
worthy conceptions of Yahweh, and from the age- 
long stain of Canaanite idolatry. In the course of 
his reign, or possibly in the early years of tho boy king 
Josiah, some one whose name is unknown, fired with 
a lofty devotion to Yahweh and to Judah, wrote a 
book calling uj)on the nation with prophetic jrowor to 
throw off paganism. He may have been prevented 
by martyrdom from publishing it, or ho may have 
waited for bettor times, knowing that if the king heard 
of the book he would destroy it at onoe. At any rate 
it remained hidden in the desecrated Temple. Mean- 
time the small circle of religious people was fired to 
fresh enthusiasm by the preaching of Jeremiah. At 
last, in the eighteenth year of his reign. Josiah took 
public action. As in the reign of Joash, after the 



THE HISTORY OF ISRAEL 



75 



pagan domination of Athaliah, the first necessary 
step was the repair of the Temple. Shaphan, the 
king's secretary, and Hilkiah, the principal priest, 
were with the king heart and soul, and they paid the 
monej' which had been collected to carpenters, builders, 
and masons. The work was in progress, and Hilkiaii 
no doubt was constantly on the spot, arranging details 
with joyful interest. One day he lighted upon the 
book hidden there, and showed it to Shaphan, who, 
after reading it, told the king about it, and read it 
to him. On hearing it Josiah rent his clothes, and 
sent in great anxiety to make inquiries about it. 
Huldah, a prophetess living in the city, was consulted. 
Kcr answer was that the city would be visited with 
the punishments mentioned in the newly-found book, 
because of its idolatrj^ and sin, but that Josiah would 
go to his grave in peace. (The latter part of the pre- 
diction was only partially fulfilled. Josiah did not 
live to see the destruction of the city, but he died in 
battle with Pharaoh Necho.) The discovery of the 
book brought to a head the longings for religious 
refoim. Josiah at once led the m-vly in a wholesale 
destruction of objects connected with pagan worship ; 
and with these were included many of the sanctuaries 
in which Yahweh had been worshipped in what was 
then understood to be an unworthy and primitive 
manner, the rites being scarcely distinguishable in 
the popular mind from those of the Canaanites. He 
began with Judah and Jerusalem, and " brought all 
the priests out of the cities of Judah, and defiled the 
high places where the priests had burned incense, 
from Geba to Beershoba." But the narrator goes on 
to record that he penetrated into the N., taking 
advantage of the weakness of Assyria to assert his 
supremacy there (2 K. 2315-20). Some writers, how- 
ever, doubt the historicity of this passage. Whether 
the N. was included or not, it is clear that the purging 
of Judah was carried out very thoroughly. It is a 
generally accepted opinion that the book which 
Hilkiah discovered was the Book of Deuteronomy, or 
a portion of it containing laws. All the leaders in 
the reform, which is now generally described as the 
Deuteronomic reform, were imbued with the spirit of 
the book, so that there grew up what may be called 
a Deuteronomic school of thinkers and writers. Jere- 
miah was the most conspicuous, but the work of others 
is seen in the Deuteronomic redactions of earlier 
writings. The opinion of a few scholars, however, 
should be mentioned, that the discovered book was 
only a short prophetic warning which has been lost 
to us, which roused reforming enthusiasm, and that 
early in the period of the Exile the principles of the 
reform found expression in Deuteronomy, the thoughts 
and language being coloured by those of Jeremiah. 
The outward effects of the refoim were great, because 
it was carried on under the aegis of the king, especially 
the centralisation of all worship in the Temple by the 
destruction of the country sanctuaries. But the 
Deuteronomic ideals were, after all, shared by only a 
small circle. When Josiah died at Megiddo, the loyal 
spirits last their principal support ; and when the 
Chaldeans carried off Jehoiachin and the best elements 
in Judah, some of the populace left behind thought 
that Yahweh had forsaken His city, and many of 
them secretly returned to pagan practices (Ezek. 85-18). 
On the other hand, the supremacy of tlie Temple, 
effected by the reform, led many to the fanatical 
belief that, since Yahweh dwelt in Jerusalem in the 
Temple, it was inconceivable that He could deliver 
up His people to the enemy. Thus acquiescence in 
the externals of the reform was compatible with a 



total lack of true religion, and was largely the cause 
of the violent opposition from which Jeremiah suffered. 
The lapse into idolatry of those who carried him into 
Egyj)t has been related in the foregoing section. But 
the reform, nevertheless, was not the complete failure 
that it seemed. Those who had drunk in its spirit 
were mostly among the better classes who had been 
taken to Babylon. And these formed the seed of the 
Jewish Charch that was to come. 

19. The ChrorJcler.— From the death of Saul till 
the Babylonian Exile the sources of our information 
have been the Books of 2 Samuel and Kings and the 
^'7ritings of the prophets, together with a few con- 
temporary inscriptions of foreign nations. After the 
Exile the religious teachers of the Jews, in their whole- 
hearted devotion to Yahweh, felt that all the past 
history of the nation was full of lessons for their own 
day. And they drew out these lessons, not by a 
series of homilies, but by rewriting the history in such 
a way as to make the lessons shine more clearly out of 
it. This was done to a certaui extent by the Deutero- 
nomic compilers of the Books of Kings and of earlier 
histories, but not with the same single-hearted con- 
sistency as the post-exilic writers. They read their own 
religious convictions into the past, and thus often pro- 
duced not strict history, but what is known as midrash, 
didactic and imaginative narrative based on history 
(pp. 2.54f.. 314, 319). Two such midrashim are men- 
tioned in 2 Ch. 1322, 2427 (RV "commentary"). With 
this object in view it was natural that they should 
ideaUze the portraits of the "good" kings, and 
emphasize the activity of the loyal prophets and priests 
of Yahv>-eh, and conversely paint in the darkest colours 
all that fell short of their ideals. It is probable that 
they possessed some traditions with a good historical 
basis which were not made use of by the pre-exilio 
historians, but they are very difficult to determine. 

With this proviso the principal additions to the 
history of the kings made by the Chronicler can now 
be sketched. (See further the comm. on Chronicles.) 

In I Ch. 1-8 a series of genealogies traces the rise 
of the chosen people from Adam. Ch. 9 names the 
principal families resident in Jerusalem after the 
return from Exile. The death of Saul is related in 
ch. 10, and the rest of the first book is occupied with 
the reign of David, the ideal king. The bulk of it 
consists of a description of the arrangements of the 
Temple worship and the duties of priests and of their 
assistants, the Levites. These arrangements are 
really those which obtauied in the post-exihc Temple, 
and in that respect the writer provides us with valuable 
information. (A " Levitc," for example, in pre-exilic 
days was not an assistant, inferior to a priest ; it was 
a title of a priest.) But they are all ascribed ideally 
to the devoted care and forethought of David, who, 
though forbidden by Yahweh to build a temple be- 
cause ho had " shed much blood upon the earth " 
made full preparation for his son Solomon. 

In 2 Ch., as m the first book, many comments are 
added on the moral significance of events, which need 
not be enumerated here except when they involve 
additional narrative material. The account of the 
reign of Solomon presents no serious additions. After 
the disruption of the kingdom the Chronicler confines 
himself to the history of Judah, mentioning the 
northern kingdom only where imavoidably necc&^ry. 
The disruption itself was, in his eyes, a grievous sin 
against Yahweh, and all the northern kings wore 
wicked usurpers who destroyed the unity of the sacred 
people. Rehoboam strengthened himself against 
Israel by fortif^ang several towns round Jerusalem 



76 



THE HISTORY OF ISRAEL 



(II5-12), placing them in charge of hia twenty-eight 
sons (21-23). The appointment by Jeroboam of 
non-Levitical priests tliroiiphout his kingdom, to tho 
cxchision of the true priests, made tho latter, with 
the Levitcs, iiock to Judali (13-16). Jeroboam is 
further charged with erecting images not only of bullp, 
but also of satyrs, which is forbidden in the priestly 
law in Lev. I77. When Shishak raided Judah, the 
prophet Shcmaiah declared that it was because of 
the sins of the nation. And when king and princes 
humbled themselves, Yahweh told the prophet that 
He would not allow Shishak to destroy them and their 
city (122-8). To Abijah is ascribed a victory over 
Jeroboam. Before the battle he delivered a speech 
to the enemy. Jeroboam surrounded the army of 
Judah, but when they cried to Yahweh, and the 
priests blew with the trumpets, Israel was routed in 
panic (l.S). In the reign of Asa, Zerah the Ethiopian 
came to fight him at IMarcsliah ; but when Asa cried 
to Yahweh He smote the enemy, and they lied, and 
Judah won great spoil (I49-15). Then a prophet, 
Azariah, son of Oded, addressed them, and encouraged 
them to maintain tho pure worship of Yahweh. So 
Asa removed the abominations from his kingdom, and 
all Judah entered into a covenant to serve Yahweh 
(I51-15). But when Asa paid the Aramaeans to attack 
Baasha, he was rebuked by a prophet, Jehu, son of 
Hanani, for not trusting in Yahweh. Asa put him 
in prison, " and oppressed some of the people at the 
same time." And when he was diseased in his feet, 
he sought not Yahweh but the physicians (I67-12). 
The successes of tho reign of Jehoshaphat, hinted at 
in 2 K., are enlarged upon. He set garrisons in the 
fenced cities. He removed the high places and asherim, 
and sent princes and Levites through Judah to teach, 
" having the book of the law of Yahweh with them " 
( 171-9). The Philistines and Arabians became tribu- 
tary to him, and the army was organized (10-19). 
When ho returned from helping Ahab at Ramoth- 
gilead, Jehu, son of Hanani, rel)uked him : " Shouldest 
thou help the wicked, and love them that hate Yah- 
weh ? " ( 191-3). Jehoshaphat converted the people to 
the worship of Yahweh " from Beersheba to the hill 
country of Ephraim," and he apiiointed judges 
throughout the country, charging them to judge 
righteously, and placed them under command of 
Amariah the priest in religious, and Zebadiah in 
civil, matters (4-1 1). A great triumph is recorded 
over Ammon, Moab, and the inhabitants of Mt. Soir. 
Jehoshaphat prayed to Yahweh, and Jahaziel, a Levite, 
filled with the Spirit, declared that Yahweh would 
fight and Judah should stand still and watch it. Two of 
the Levitical choirs sang i)raise to God, and when the 
enemy went forth in the morning they sang again. 
And the enemy turned and killed each other to a man, 
so that Judah carried off great spoil. They blessed 
Yahweh in the valley of Bcracah (" Blessing "), and 
returned to Jerusalem singing with joy (2O1-30). 
But when Jehoshapliat allied himself with Ahaziah 
of Israel, he was rebuked by a prophet, Eliezer, son 
of Dodavahu, and as a punishment the fleet which 
he had built was destroyed (35-37). The wicked- 
ness of Jehoram, who had married Athahah, is dwelt 
upon. On his accession he killed all his brothers and 
several princes. For this, and for his idolatries, he 
was rcbukecl in a letter from Elijah, who told him that 
Judah would be smitten with a plague, and he would 
die by grievous sickness. The Philistines and Arabians 
broke into Jerusalem and carried off hia treasures, and 
the whole royal family except his youngest son, 
Ahaziah (here called Jehoahaz) ; and he then died as 



Elijah had predicted (212-4,11-20). Joash, after tho 
deatii of the good priest Jehoiada, enticed by the 
princes of Judah, relapsed into idolatry. He would 
not listen to prophets who rebuked him ; and when 
Zechariah, s(jn of Jehoiada, did so, ho commanded 
him to be stoned ; and Zechariah, when dying, cried, 
"Yahweh look upon it and require it" (2417-22). 
When Amaziah was about to fight the Edomitcs ho 
hired 100,000 men from Israel, but at the advice of 
a prophet dismissed them. Incensed at this, they 
attacked and looted many cities on their way home 
(255-10,13). After his victory over Edom he brought 
back their idols and worshipped them. For this he 
was rebuked by a prophet, but he silenced him con- 
temptuously (14-16). The successes of Uzziah are 
recorded in some detaU. In the days of Zechariah, 
a seer, he sought Yahweh and prospered. Philistines, 
Arabians, and Ammonites were defeated. He fortified 
Jerusalem, and encouraged husbandry by providing 
towers and cisterns in uncultivated districts. He also 
equipped the army with new armour and weapons, 
including engines to shoot arrows and great stones. 
But, proud of his successes, he dared to usurp a priestly 
function in attempting to bum incense in the Temple. 
Azariah the priest rebuked him ; and when he persisted 
he was struck with leprosy, and fled from the sacred 
building (26). Jotham continued his father's prosperity. 
He buUt cities, towns, and castles, and subdued the 
Ammonites (273-6). In the reign of Ahaz the attack 
made upon Judah by Pekah of Israel and Rezin of 
Aram is recorded as a punishment for unfaithfulness 
to Yahweh. But when Pekah was carrjing off many 
captives, Oded, a prophet, rebuked him and bade him 
send tho captives back. Then " certain of the heads 
of the children of Ephraim " insisted that this should 
be done. So they clothed and fed them, and placing 
" all the fceblo of them upon asses," brought them back 
as far as Jericho (281-15). The appeal which Ahaz 
made to Assyria for help is stated to have been due 
not to the Syro-Ephraimite peril, but to a defeat by 
the Edomites and the capture of several border towns 
by the Philistines (16-19). The reforms set on foot 
by Hezekiah are related at length, together with the 
activity of the devoted priests and Levites, the joj-ful 
music, and the sacrifices offered when the Temple was 
cleansed from the pollution of tho idolatries of Ahaz 
(293-36). All Judah, and even the faithful in Ephraim 
and Manasseh and " all Israel," were then summoned 
to Jerusalem, and the Passover was observed with 
great joy, in the second month (as allowed by tho 
priestly law), because the priests had not sanctified 
themselves in suflicient numbers, and the people had 
not assembled in time, for the correct date in the first 
month. Some from Israel had not saint ifiod themselves 
at all ; but Hezekiah prayed to Yahweh to pardon this 
irregularity (30). The courses of priests and I.«vite8 
were then appointed in accordance with the priestly 
law, and vast quantities of tithes and offerings poured 
in from tho people {'M). The strengthening of Jeru- 
salem in view of Sennacherib's attack is described 
(322-8). Manasseh is recorded to havo suffered 
Divine punishment for his paganism. The Assyrians 
carried him in chains to Babylon. But there he re- 
pented, and Yahweh " brought him again to Jeru- 
salem unto his kingdom." (\ATiether the Chronicler 
pictured Judah as governed by two kings, or whether 
he supposed that Anion, or Josiah, temporarily abdi- 
cated in Manasseh's favour, is not clear.) Reinstated 
on the throne, he fortified Jerusalem, and appointed 
raiUtary captains in the fenced cities. He also tried 
to atone for his former paganism by removing all the 



THE HISTORY OF ISRAEL 



77 



objects of idolatrous worship which ho had placed in 
the capital (33ii-i9). In the account of the restora- 
tion of the Temple by Josiah it is stated that the 
workmen were placed under the superintendence of 
Levites (3412-13). The celebration of the Passover 
mentioned in 2 K. is described in full priestly detail 
(351--19). The account of Josiah's dealings with 
Necho is expanded. Necho warned him from God 
not to interfere with his advance, but Josiah would not 
listen ; he disguised himself, but was wounded. The 
dirges sung at his death were repeated till the writer's 
day (20-25). The tragic history of the last four kings 
of Judah is abridged (36i-2i), and the book closes 
with the decree of Cyrus permitting the return of the 
Jews from Babylon, which is repeated in Ezr. I1-3 

(362 2f.). 

20. The Exile. — Of the poorer classes who wore 
carried to Babylon we hear almost nothing. The 
. exiles were, in general, planted in colonies ; an instance 
of this is seen at Tel-abib, by the river Chebar, near 
Nippur, where Ezekiel worked (Ezek. li, 3i5). They 
were well treated, being allowed to possess houses 
of their own (81, 12 1-7, Jer. 295), to marry (Jer. 
296, Ezek. 24i8), and to make money (see Is. 55if., 
Zech. G9-11). There are indications, however, that 
some, probably the poor, suffered harsh treatment 
^Is. 143, 476). A pathetic longing for Zion is expressed 
in Ps. 137, and a feehng of despair in Ezek. 37ii ; 
but such anguish was probably confined, for the most 
part, to the few rehgious patriots who seized the first 
opportunity to return. Among the exiles were in- 
cluded the Temple priests, who had become part of 
the highest aristocracy of Judah by generations of 
wealth and prestige. Some of them now busied them- 
eelves with collecting and codifying, and perhaps 
shaping for future use, the ritual laws which must 
have prevailed in the worship at the Temple before 
its fall, but had been handed down orally and not 
committed to writing. Some of these appear in the 
Holiness Code (Lev. 17-26). And Ezekiel, perhaps 
somewhat earlier, laid down in the form of a vision 
an ideal programme of worship and organization for 
the community when it should return to Jerusalem 
(Ezek. 40-48). At the same time man}' minds were 
imbibing ideas from Babylonian astrology and mytho- 
logy, which afterwards showed traces widely in Jewish 
literature. 

Some thirty years passed, in which Nebuchadrezzar 
died and was succeeded by some weak rulers, none of 
whom reigned long. Two of them find mention in 
the OT— Amil-Marduk (Evil-Mcrodach, 2 K. 252?) 
and Neriglissar (Ncrgal-sharezer, Jer. 393,13). In 
655 Nabunaid (Gk. Nabonidos) ascended the throne. 
Early in his reign he was harassed by the Modes. But 
the danger was averted, for Cyrus, king of Anshan, 
who had already made himself master of Elam, de- 
feated Ast5'ages, to whom the Medcs were at that time 
subject. He and his troops were betrayed to Cyrus, 
whose banner the Medcs joined. At about this time 
appeared among the exiles the unnamed poet-prophet 
whose message is contained in Is. 40-48. He declared 
that Cyrus was Yahwch's chosen instrument to deliver 
the exiles, and that the victories which he liad already 
won shewed that the predictions of deliverance from 
Babylon uttered by earlier prophets were about to 
be fulfilled. In c. 546 Cyrus became master of Lydia 
and its king, Croesus, by the fall of Sardis ; and at 
last, in 539, he was free to attack Babylon, with which 
Lydia had been in alliance. Bel-5ar-usur (Belshazzar, 
Dan 5i°), the son of Nabunaid, was defeated ; Sippar 
opened its gates to Cyrus, and then Babylon was taken 



without a blow, Nabunaid, who was hated by many of 
liis people, having been thrown mto prison. Thus the 
exiles passed from Babylonian into Medo- Persian hands. 

21. Judaean History in the Persian Period. — The 
(3T records now carry the reader back to Jerusalem. 
The sources for the history are scanty and obscure, 
but some valuable information is afforded in the Books 
of Haggai and Zech. 1-8, and in poitions of Ezra-Ne- 
hemiali. The cyhndcr of (!yrus relating his achieve- 
ments (part of which is translated in EBi 453) shows 
that in religious matters he adopted a pacific poUcy 
towards the vanquished. But it gives no definite 
support to the decree ascribed to him in Ezr. I1-4, 
allowing the return of the Jewish exiles and the re- 
building of the Temple (see below). It is probable 
that a few, but only a few, of them responded to the 
call in Is. 4820 to flee from Babylon, and throw in 
their lot with those who had been left in Judaea, whose 
numbers must by then have been considerably in- 
creased. They managed to make themselves com- 
fortable in " panelled houses " before they shewed any 
zeal in rebuilding the Temple and reviving the sacri- 
ficial worship of Yahweh. This called forth ringing 
rebukes from the prophet Haggai, who, aided by an- 
other prophet, Zechariah, roused them to their duty. 
A famine and drought were troubling them, which, 
Haggai declared, were a punishment for their slack- 
ness. The slackness may have been partly due to 
political unrest. When the successor of Cyrus, the 
cruel and despotic Cambyses, died, the government 
was thrown into confusion by Gaumata, who claimed 
to be Smerdis, the brother of Cambyses, and also by 
other pretenders ; and Judaea, being a Persian pro- 
vince, may have suffered. But order was at last 
restored by Darius, son of Hystaspes, when he took 
the throne in 522-1. And in his second year the 
building of the Temple was begun, some three weeks 
after Haggai's appeal (Hag. 11,15), and, according to 
Ezr. 615, brought to some degree of completion in four 
vears. (On this and the following paragraphs see 
pp. 323f., 573f.) 

The Chronicler (whose compilation comprises 1 and 
2 Ch., Ezr., Neh.) gives a narrative of events before 
the appearance of Haggai ; but this, like his accounts 
of pre-exilic events, must be treated for historical 
purposes with reserve. The decree of Cyrus, permit- 
ting the return and the building of the Temple (Ezr. 
I1-4), is couched in the language of a sincerely mono- 
theistic worshipper of Yahweh, which he certainly was 
not. Sheshbazzar, " the prince of Judah," accompanied 
by returning exiles, brought back the vessels which 
had been taken from the Temple (5-1 1). But then 
Sheshbazzar disappears from the narrative, and 
Zerubbabel is named as the leader of more than 
49,500 returning exiles (2), and as the civil governor, 
aided by Joshua (Jeshua), the high priest. Under 
their authority an altar for burnt-offering was at once 
erected, and the Festival of Booths was celebrated 
(3i-5). Contrast, however, the statement in Neh. 
813-18. Then, with timber brought from Lebanon, 
and shipped by Tyrians to Joppa, a beginning was 
made of the new Temple (37-13). But no sooner was 
the foundation laid with great rejoicing than the 
aliens, the descendants of those whom Esarhaddon 
had transported to Samaria, asked leave to take part 
in the building, which was refused. They retaliat<Kl 
by hindering the work — how is not stated — till the 
second year of Darius (41-5,24). All this is of very 
doubtful historicity, as also the account (in 53-614) 
of the events following the successful preaching of 
Haggai and Zechariah — i.e. the opposition of Tattenai, 



78 



THE HISTORY OF ISRAEL 



the Persian governor of Syiia, and others, their appeal 
to J)arius by letter, the search in the archives by 
which Darius learnt of the previous decree of Cyrus, 
and his consequent reply tliat every passible assistance 
was to be given to the Jews, not only in building 
facilities, but even in material for sacrifico. Some 
modem writers go so far as to doubt whether there 
was any return from Babylon at all, and think that 
Haggai and Zechariah preached simply to the remnant 
(see Hag. 112,14, 22, and c/. Neh. 1 3) whom Nobu- 
chadiezzar had loft behind. But it is more probable 
that, though there was no imposing return such as 
Ezr. 2 relates, yet that some of tho exiles who wore 
oppressed and heartbroken in Babylon came back from 
time to time and in small groups, a poor and pious 
company, and with them a good many of the priests. 
At least one contribution was sont-^nd there may 
have been several — from Babylon by the hand of tho 
Jews (Zech. 610 f.); and communication was kept up, 
and was probably frequent, between the exiles and 
Jerusalem (Neh. I2). 

The high hopes which tho prophets had rested upon 
the governorship of Zerubbabel and the ecclesiastical 
rule of Joshua (Hag. 223, Zech. 3f. 61 2f.) were dis- 
appointed. The period following the dedication of 
the Temple in 516-515 was one of decline, as shown 
in the writing called " Malachi." The country was 
harassed by Edomite raids (Mai. I2-5) ; the priests 
were corrupt, and tho people consequently shewed a 
rebellious distaste for rehgious observances and re- 
quirements, and even foreign cults were beginning to 
appear (I6-217). No more is heard of Zerubbabel ; 
it is unlikely, therefore, that his rule was brilliant 
or noteworthy. He was succeeded by governors who 
made themselves burdensome to the people (Neh. 
615), and who were probably not Jewish but Persian. 
Apart from such indications this period of the history 
is a blank. 

The scene opens again with events in the reign of 
Artaxcrxes. Ezr. 47-23 contains an Aramaic frag- 
ment of narrative, inserted too early by the compiler, 
showing that an attempt was made to rebuild the 
city walls. An appeal was lodged at the Persian 
court by several persons, including some of the aliens 
in the Samaritan territory, in reply to which Artaxerxes 
forbade the building of the walls, which was accord- 
ingly stopped " by force and power." Who took the 
lead in this attempt to build is not stated. It may have 
been a report of these occurrences which reached 
Nehemiah (Neh. I3), but this is only conjecture. It 
is not even certain whether the Artaxcrxes named in 
Ezr. 4 is the same as that in Neh. 2i. This, however, 
is probable, and also that it is Artaxerxes I Longi- 
manus (465-424), not, as some recent wTiters have 
suggested, Artaxerxes II Mnemon (4(>4-361). 

Before the arrival of Nehemiah a narrative dealing 
with Ezra's work is contained in Ezr. 7-10. Opinions 
still differ so widely about him that it is unsafe to 
speak with confidence. Some place his work after 
Nehemiah's sojourn in Jerusalem ; others deny the 
historicity of the whole account of him, holding that 
he is an imaginary figure by which the Chronicler 
represented in mirhash the aims and spirit of tho 
Judaism of that age. It is more pntbable, however, 
that Ezra was a real person, a priest who returned 
from Babylon and had considerable influence in press- 
ing the claims of tho priestly law. On this basis tho 
compiler has built his narrative, as follows : Ezra, a 
priest and scribe, was invested by Artaxerxes with 
an authority, W. of the Eujjhratcs, which is repre- 
sented as almost supreme, and loaded with gifts, that 



he might establish in Jerusalem according to the Law 
the worship of his (iod, whom the king's decree styles 
" God of Israel," " God of Jerusalem, and " God of 
heaven ' (7i-26). At this point occurs a passage 
(727-9x5) written in the first person, as though drawn 
from a diary or other document written by Ezra him- 
self. It describes his arrangements for tho journey 
across tho desert, with a large number of exiles, in- 
cluding Lcvitcs and Nethuiim for the Temple service. 
They started from the river of Ahava, and, in spite of 
carrying rich treasure and having declined a military 
escort, were kept safe by God from enemies and 
marauders. On arrival, they paid the treasures into 
the Temple funds (727-836). But Ezra now learnt 
from some of the Jewish princes that a large number 
of Jews had married foreign women. He was thrown 
into the depths of sorrow and shame, and at the evening 
oblation he made a solemn confession to God in tho 
name of the people (9). The sequel is then described 
by the compiler. A general assembly was called, 
wliich met in an open square in a downpour of rain, 
and it was agreed to appoint princes to investigate tho 
cases of foreign marriage. The narrative, whatever 
was the part played by Ezra, reflects the nationalist, 
particularist attitude of the religious sections of th© 
communit}'. 

And this zeal for the priestly law is shown in another 
narrative about Ezra, placed by the compiler in Neh. 8 
— i.e. when Nehemiah was in Jerusalem. At the 
request of the people Ezra read to them the law, 
standing on a wooden platform, and they were deeply 
impressed with what they heard. Finding that the 
law enjoined tho observance of the Festival of Booths 
in that very month, they celebrated it with great joy. 
It is idle to conjecture why and whither Ezra retired, 
if he did retire, from public life between the foregoing 
incident and this. The literary condition of the 
books Ezr.— Neh. forbids any chronological arrange- 
ment of Ezra's activity. He is introduced yet onco 
again (Neh. I236) as leading one of the two companies 
which walked in procession on the city wall at its 
dedication. 

Somewhat more confidence can be placed in the story 
of Nehemiah. Parts of it (1-75, I227-43, I34-31) are 
written in the firet person, and have the appearance, 
for the most part, of coming from his own hand. 

Nehemiah, a Jew, and cupbearer of Artaxerxes, 
heard at Shushan (Dan. 82*) of the mined condition of 
the walls of Jerusalem, and in his grief he uttered an 
earnest prayer to Yahweh (1). He obtained leave to 
go to Jerusalem to restore the walls (2i-8). At a lat«r 
point he mentions incidentally that he was given tho 
status of governor of Judah ("514). On his arrival ho 
inspected the walls by night, and then persuaded tho 
Jews to begin the work, in spite of the opposition of 
Sanballat the Horonite, Tobiah "the slave" the 
Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian (29-20), who were 
probably members of the mixed " Samaritan " com- 
munity in the N., who had previously been refused 
participation in the building of the Teiiiple (according 
to Ezr. 4i-5), and had already successfully hindered 
the building of the city walls (Ezr. 47-23). Theco 
enemies exhausted every effort to hinder tlie work. 
After mockery, which hurt no one (Neh. 4i-6), they 
gathered an army for attack ; but Nehemiah, hearing 
of it, provided all the builders with weapons. Half 
stood ready to figlit, while the other half worked 
rapidly (47-23). Force having failed, tlio enemy 
turned to fraud. Four times they invited Nehemiah 
to a conference, hoping to kill him. On the fifth occa- 
sion Sanballat suggested that tho building of the wall 



THE HISTORY OF ISRAEL 



79 



would be interpreted by the Persian king as an attempt 
at rebellion, in order to make Nehcmiah king. But 
Nehcmiali saw througli the plot, and boldly refused 
to have anything to do with them. Yet another 
attempt bj' a certain Shemaiah, who invited Nehemiah 
to hide m the Temple, since assassins were intending 
to attack him, also failed (61-14). The walls were 
completed in fifty-two days, to the disappointment of 
the enemy, who had many allies in Jerusalem (15-19). 
The joj'ful ceremony at the dedication is described in 
1227-43, and arrangements were made for the safe 
custody of the gates (7 1-3). 

After this preliminary work Nehemiah took the lead 
in shaping the religious life and constitution of the 
community. He found that many of the wealthy 
Jews had taken poor Jews into slavery for debt. He 
persuaded them to release them, and declared that 
during the twelve years of his governorship he had 
taken care not to make his maintenance a burden on 
the people, as former governors had done (5). During 
these years public spirit had been so far moulded 
that the people bound themselves by a solemn covenant, 
sealed by their princes, Levites, and priests, with 
Nehemiah's name at the head. After a general oath 
to keep God's commandments they bound themselves 
to contract no foreign marriages, to refuse traffic on 
the Sabbath, to observe the sacred seventh year as 
commanded in the Law, to pay the poll-tax of one- 
third of a shekel for the Temi)le, and regular first- 
fruits, firstlings, and tithes (93S-IO39). 

Nehemiah returned to Artaxerxes when his period 
of governorship had expired, and disloyal Jews at 
once took advantage of his absence. The worst 
offender was Eliashib the priest, who had entered 
into collusion with Tobiah and given him a chamber 
in the Temple court. And Eliashib's grandson 
(named Manasseh, if we can partially follow a confused 
notice in Joscphus) had married Sanballat's daughter. 
Nehemiah also found that the Levites had not been 
paid their dues, and had consequently deserted the 
Temple and gone into the country ; the Sabbath was 
profaned by labour and traffic ; and Jews were again 
marrying foreign women, and their children could not 
speak the Jewish language correctly. Nehemiah, who 
was evidently possessed of authority, dealt with these 
abuses in a very stem and forcible manner (13). 
Subsequent history shows that the community for the 
most part adopted this policy of exclusiveness. Union 
with the Samaritans became increasingly impossible, 
and at a later date ( Josephus, Ant. XI. viii. 4, places it 
as late as the time of Alexander) the establishment of 
the Samaritan temple on Mt. Gerizim made the schism 
final. 

Little is known of Judaean history in the last century 
of the Persian Empire. But it must have been a 
time of much suffering. In the long conflict with 
Egypt, Persian armies must frequently have overrun 
Judaea, and Artaxerxes III Ochus fought fierce battles 
in Syria itself. The Jews seem to have sided with 
Egypt, since he is said to have transported some of 
them (c. 351) to Hyrcania and Babylonia. Hia 
notorious general, Bagoas, oppressed them with taxes, 
and roused their fury by entering the Temple. He 
killed Ochus, and placed Darius III Codomannus on 
the throne, a weak king who was easily overcome by 
the great conqueror Alexander. 

22. Jews In Egypt in the Persian Period. — Jews had 
found their way to Egypt from various causes at 
different dates. Shishak no doubt took some prisoners 
when he attacked Rehoboam, Hezekiah made alliances 
with Egypt, and Judaeans probably took refuge there 



when the Assyrians overran the country. When Necho 
took Jehoahaz captive, some nobles or other officials 
must have been taken with him. And Egypt was 
again a convenient refuge at the time of the Chaldean 
invasion. The letter of Pseudo-Aristeas definitely 
stated that Jews were sent to Egypt to help Psam- 
meticus, doubtless the second of that name (593-588), 
in his campaign against the Ethiopians, and that many 
came later with the Persians. Shortly after the fall 
of Jerusalem (586) Jews were found already settled 
at Jligdol on the NE. border, at Noph (Memphis), and 
in Pathros in Upper Egypt (Jer. 44i, 4614) ; and 
Johanan, son of Kareah, carried off many, including 
Jeremiah, to Tahpanhes (Daphnae) on the E. frontier. 
Lastly, the Assuan papyri show that a military colony 
of Jews, established at the fortress town of Yeb 
(Elephantine) in the S. of Egypt, had worshipped 
Yahu (Yahwch) in a temple of their own " since the 
time of the Eg>-ptian kings." The temple had been 
spared by Cambyses when he conquered Egypt in 
525, but was destroyed by Egyptian priests in 410, 
during the temporary absence of the satrap, Arshara. 
Jedoniah, the Jewish head of the colony, and " liis 
companions the priests," wrote to Bagoas, who was 
then governor of Judaea, to Johanan the high priest 
(c/. Neh. 1222; Joae^hus, Ant. XI. vii. 1) and the other 
Jerusalem priests, and to Ostanes, brother of Anani, 
and the nobles of the Jews. But they received no 
answer. From that time they had mourned and fasted, 
and could not offer peace-offerings, incense, or burnt - 
offerings. In 407 they wrote again, imploring Bagoas 
to authorise the rebuilding of the temple, saying that 
they would all pray for him till it was accomplished, 
and sending him money. They had also, they told 
him, sent information to Delaiah and Shelemaiah, the 
sons of Sanballat, governor of Samaria. This appeal 
was successful. Bagoas and the sons of Sanballat 
repUed, authorising them to claim from Arsham the 
rebuilding of the temple. The problem raised by 
the existence of a temple of Y^ahweh later than the 
Deuteronomic Law of the one sanctuary cannot here 
be discussed (p. 232). But the pap3rri are of pecuhar 
interest as contemporary documents giving a fund 
of information on the social and rehgious life of the 
community. 

23. Alexander and After. — A brief catalogue of 
events will indicate the way in which the Jews passed 
into the wider world of Greece. Alexander, having 
defeated the Persians in 333, took Tyre and Gaza and 
advanced to Jerusalem. Ho treated the Jews well ; 
Josephus relates a tradition that he even granted them 
autonomy in Jerusalem and Babylonia. He included 
Palestine in the province of Coele-Sjniia. After re- 
ceiving the submission of Egypt, he planted many 
Samaritans in the Thebais and Jews in Alexandria. 
On his death Egypt was governed by Ptolemy I Soter, 
son of Lagos. In the campaigns by which he estab- 
lished his power he frequently occupied Palestine. On 
one occasion ho seized Jerusalem without a blow, 
because the Jews refused to fight on the Sabbath. 
But he won their allegiance, and migrations took place 
to Egypt, where he assigned them a quarter in Alex- 
andria. His son, Ptolemy II Philadelphus, definitely 
made Palestine part of his dominion, and treated the 
Jews with great consideration. The legend of the 
translation of the LXX is probably' ba«ed on the fact 
that a Greek translation of the Pentateuch for the 
Jews in Egypt was actually made under his authoritv. 
Ptolemy III Euergetes continued the same kindly 
relations, but they began to suffer disturbances under 
Ptolemy IV Fhilopator, who was obliged to assort his 



80 



THE HISTORY OF ISRAEL 



hold on Palestine against Antiochus II (" the Great "). 
Finally Ptolemy V Epiphanes lost it, his general, 
Scopas, being defeated. AntlochuS III made conces- 
sions to the .Jews, and thoy transferred their allegiance 
to the Soloiicid dynasty, which led to noteworthy 
results under the next king, Antiochus Epiphanes, as 
related in the article on ''Jewish History from the 
Maccabees to the Destruction of Jerusalem." (See 
further on the .subject of this ]iaragra|)h, ]). 02.) 

From a merely political and material point of view 
Israel was so insignificant that its history would hardly 
be worth study were it not that God chose the weak 
things of the world for a high destiny. The Israelites, 
more than any other nations, were His instrument for 
revealing to mankind Himself, His nature and pur- 
poses, " in many portions and many methods." Their 
emergence from nomadic life, their growth and train- 
ing, their blessings and their punishments, and finally 
their wide dispersion among the great nations, were 
steps in a gradual advance towards the great con- 
summation when the earth should be " full of the 
knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the seas." 



Literature. — A thorough study of the historj' cannot 
be made without systematic work at the narratives 
themKelves, with the help of commentaries and dic- 
tionary articles; and it must include a study of the 
literature and the religion of Israel, together with tho 
contemporary material, within and without Palestine, 
afforded by inscriptions, etc. The following histories 
can be consulted, not as substitutes, but as helps : 
Foakes Jackson, The Biblical History of the Hebrews ; 
Kent, A History of the Hebrew People ; Kent and 
Riggs, A History of the Jcivish People; H.P.Smith, 
Old Testament History ; Wade, Old TesUiment His- 
tory. See also Mahaffy. Alexander s Empire, and The 
Empire of the Ptolemies. Of German works, Ewald's 
great History of Israel (Eng. tr. in eight vols.) is now 
largely antiquated. The most comprehensive of those 
written from a newer point of view is Stade's ; Kittel's 
Geschichte dcs Volkcs Israel ^ is much more recent, 
and represents a rather more conservative position 
(Eng. tr. History of the Hebreus from the first ed.). 
Smaller but important works by Wellhausen, Comill, 
Guthc^. and Lehraann-Haupt may also be mentioned. 



THE RELIGION OF ISRAEL 



By Prof. W. G. JORDAN 



Preliminary Statement. — The aim of this article is 
to give in mere outline the history of Hebrew reHgion 
as a living movement, which reveals to us one of the 
great threads of the Divine purpose, and prepares the 
way for the Christian faith. The books and subjects 
mentioned will be dealt with in the commentaries and 
other discussions ; hence the main object of this sketch 
will be to give, as far as the writer is able, a connected 
view of the whole development. The problem is 
historical in its character. Our concern is with the 
life of a particular nation, and with the action of its 
leaders at a given period of the world's history, and 
not with abstract theological theories as conceived by 
the scholasticism of later ages. At the basis of our 
discussion there is a definite view of Israelite history 
and of the literature which tells the story of that life, 
and gives a record of the various stages of thought. 
This view is both critical and conservative ; it has been 
built up by generations of loving toil, given to tho 
study of the documents ; it seeks to preserve all the real 
history contained in the sacred books, and to interpret 
sympathetically all the noble struggles and lofty- 
aspirations that these record. The present aim is not 
directly apologetic ; the facts, so far as we can recover 
them, must be allowed to speak for themselves. But 
the writer may express his opinion that the true 
apologetic of the OT is the frank recognition of an 
actual development, a God-guided organic movement, 
a revelation shining more and more unto the perfect 
day. It is not necessary for a Christian teacher to 
disclaim " mere naturalism," whatever that may mean. 
The word " development " in this connexion suggests 
to us a movement which is not fully explained by the 
genius of a particular people or their surroundings, 
by the work of any one teacher or generation of leaders ; 
the final explanation lies in the purpose of the living 
God, who uses all these persons and circumstances 
as His instruments. Such development, being a 
matter of real life, is exceedingly complex ; its roots 
are in the distant past, its ramifications run in all 
directions ; there are side currents as well as the main 
stream ; higher and lower movements live side by 
side ; early types of thought reappear at later stages ; 
alongside of the higher attainments of inspired thought 
there are survivals of primitive conceptions. We 
cannot hope — in fact, we do not desire — to reduce the 
rich complexity of life to an abstract simplicity. 

Periods," then, are artificial and not real divisions, 
adopted for convenience in handling the subject. 
Some historical events, as the Coming into Palestine 
or the Exile, some stages in the reUgion, as the rise 
of the higher forms of preaching or the Dcutoronomic 
Reform, may make a deep impression, but the thread 
of history is never absolutely broken ; tho current of 
life may seem to move more slowly at one time than 
another, but it never conits to a full stop. In Sj'ria 
and Palestine to-day beliefa and customs may still 



be found similar to those of tho pro-Mosaic times, 
while the OT message, in its manifold forms, has made 
for itself a place in the highest life of the world. Simi- 
larly, such labels as nomadic reUgion, agricultural 
religion, pre-prophetic religion, prophetism. legalism, 
need to be watched lest they become hard and mechani- 
cal. They remind us that the spirit of religion, the 
spirit that responds to God's call and expresses man's 
hunger and aspiration, is influenced in its oiitivard 
forms by changing circumstances, economic conditions, 
intellectual culture, but they must not be too sharply 
separated, or treated as final explanations of the great 
reality. In the most primitive observances there were 
glimmerings of great truths expressed in symbolic 
forms by men of prophetic vision, and in the days of 
hardest legalism there was much personal piety and 
tender devotion. 

The Historical Setting. — The Hebrew tribes came 
into Palestine in the thirteenth century B.C. The first 
period of two or three centuries, as reflected in the 
earliest parts of Jg., is one of restless struggle, partly 
of conquest and partly of assimilation. The founda- 
tion of the kingdom under David and Solomon is of 
gi-eat historical and religious importance. The dis- 
ruption, some seventy years later, shows its lack of 
political strength and religious stability. The de- 
struction of the Northern Kingdom, in 722 B.C., turns 
the main current of political and religious history into 
the Davidic kingdom of Judah. The Assyrians had 
now begun to play an important part in tho life of the 
Hebrews, and from that time onward this remarkable 
race has been in contact with the great powers of the 
world. The Exile in Babylon at the beginning of the 
sixth century destroyed, for the time being, the 
political existence of the nation and prepared the way 
for the birth of the Jewish Church. After the Exile, 
under the Persian control, the small community was 
left free to devote its energies to religious and ecclesi- 
astical questions. The Greek period, after Alexander's 
victory, brings with it dangers to the political and 
religious life of Judaism. When these reach their 
height, in the fanatical persecutions of Antiochus 
Epiphanes, the Maccabean revolt shows that the old 
warlike spirit is not dead, and that the religion through 
centuries of strife has attained an independent and 
vigorous character. Out of external conflict and in- 
ternal division there arose the religious and political 
parties as we find them in NT times. 

Each of these periods had produced its memorials 
or left its deposits, which have to some extent been 
preserved in the varied literature that we call the OT, 
and these are our chief sources for the study of Hebrew 
religion. In early songs and stories, in short, simple 
codes of laws, this life and religion finds its first ex- 
pression. Then come early attempts at regular 
national chronicles. The first written sermons show 
that there is real literary culture, if of a simple kind. 



82 



THE RELIGION OF ISRAEL 



Later the laws are set in a more elaborate codification, 
and history is written from a definite religious point 
of view. Finally tiic whole is placed in the frame- 
work of the world's history, and a sacred hook corners 
irto existence which has nourished simple piety and 
produced hard dogmas of relit;ion and science. In 
other articles the political histfiry will be treated at 
length and " the Bible as literature " discussed ; here 
it is sufficient to say that no real history of the religion 
could bo written "until literary criticism had solved 
many problems, showing, e.g., that the Pentateuch 
consists of documents that can now bo related to widely 
separated periods of the nation's life, and that the 
sixty-six chapters of Isaiah represent many stages of 
ethical propliecy and apocalyptic thought. Our dis- 
cussion must relate itself to this history and rest upon 
this critical basis of modern scholarship. 

Early Hebrew Religion.— According to the view now 
dominant, as to the ago of the documents, we have 
no contemporary narratives or sermons from the 
earliest time ; but while even fragments of our sources 
may reach back beyond 1000 B.C., there is no doubt 
primitive material that has been modified and very 
early beliefs and usages which have left traces in the 
later laws and literature. We see now quite clearly 
that there is no such thing as reaching back, either 
by history or speculation, to the beginning of the world. 
The Hebrews are comparatively a modern people ; 
behind their history is that of ancient Arabia. Egypt, 
and Babylonia, and" farther hack is the dim pre-historic 
period. The Hebrews belong to the Semitic family. 
It is not probable that Egypt exerted any direct or 
powerful influence on their religion. Their early 
affinities are closer to the Arab tribes, and Babylonian 
influence affected them at various stages through the 
relation of those great Oriental empires to Palestine. 
Many religious beliefs and customs found among the 
members of the Semitic group arc common to other 
races. The investigation of that subject belongs to 
the sphere of comparative religion. Of " a primitive 
monotheism," here or elsewhere, there can be no 
proof. Monotheism in any real sense is the result 
of a long, painful strugg'e ; it has come to the world 
through what has been aptly called " the Divine 
discipline of Israel." In this respect both Christianity 
and Mohammedanism are dependent on the OT. To 
OB with our conception of one God, who rules the whole 
world through the working of laws and the action of 
forces whose quaUties and effects have been studied and 
catalogued by long centuries of toil, it requires a strong 
effort of imagination, assisted by the observation of 
many facts, to recreate the ancient view with its 
appropriate atmosphere. Then religion pervaded the 
whole of life ; sunematural beings were everywhere, 
if we may use such a phrase of a time when no clear 
Une waa drawn between the natural and the super- 
natural Gods that were real became symbols to a 
later time, and statements that to us are mere flashes 
of picturesque poetry referred originally to actual 
manifestations of divinities in definite time and place. 
In the early narratives the Hebrews have preserved 
the good tradition that their forefathers wore nomails, 
and that at each place of temporary settlement they 
found or set up an altar to their God (Gen. Il28, 13iS, 
28x9, 332o). The alt4ir was s<^t up where the presence 
of the Divinity had Iwen revealed in some enlightening 
vision or gift of help (Ex. 2O24, 1 S. I12). There was 
a freedom and simplicity in this early stage which is 
prophetic of the fuller freedom of a more highly 
developed religion. The altar might be a rude natural 
stone, and the priest might be the head of the family or 



clan, officiating according to traditional usage, but not 
hampered by an elaborate ritualistic etiquette. Re- 
ligion was the basis of family and clan life. The 
festivals were the times of natural gladness — the wed- 
ding, the weaning, the welcome of a visitor ; the faat-s 
were hours of sorrow that come to all, when pain or 
death breaks in upon the common routine. The man 
was the head of the family, the owner of wives, chil- 
dren, and slaves ; but even then religion had, no doubt, 
a binding and softening influence. We need not regard 
the Semites of .3000 years ago aa " savages," because 
their views of God and the world differed so widely 
from the " scientific " concej)tions of our own time. 
They had great fundamental ideas which we must 
retain in a higher form. Religion was everywhere: 
the family grew out of it, society was based upon it. 
Duties to ancestors, to the living tribes, and to pos- 
terity were recognised as the commands of the God, 
the essence of religion. The unity of life and the all- 
])ervading presence of rcUgion were in a sense realised, 
but only within a restricted sphere. The God might 
be limited to a particular clan or a special place. The 
passage from one tribe or one territory to another 
might involve a change of allegiance and ritual (I S. 
2G19). The polj^heistic background of the ancient 
world must be borne clearly in mind if we are to under- 
stand primitive religion. For example, the original 
meaning of such conceptions as " clean " and " un- 
clean " only thus becomes intelligible (pp. 202f .). These 
words point to something religious and ritualistic, not 
sanitary. The " clean " or " unclean " thing may have 
a contagious influence and load in many cases to isola- 
tion, and so there is something aiuilogous to modern 
medical ideas. Ablutions may load to cleanness in our 
sense, but that is incidental ; the real root idea is that 
what belongs to the sphere of another god is " unclean." 
The dead body at one time belonged to a different 
divinity, and to touch it made a man unclean in rela- 
tion to" his own God (Num. 52). The divisions of life, 
the tribe, the trade, the caste, the custom wero 
all based upon and hedged about by religious rites. 
In much of this routine national narrowness, social 
pride, mechanical, magical religion were present. The 
same thing persists to-day, often in less lovely forms. 
There is a certain poetry and beauty in the primitive 
recognition of gods in the storm, in trees, and in Uving 
fountains. That some great boulder could bo the 
home of a god, and that the anointing oil could be an 
acceptable gift to the Divinity may, at first sight, seem 
strange ; but God must bo recognised as in some place 
and places before men can bo led to the faith that Ho 
is one and His life is manifestetl everywhere. To the 
simple travellers the oasis in a desert might m'cU be 
a garden of God, and the great rock might become a 
symbol and name of the Highest, but first He must 
be believed to be really — i.e. locally — there. So in 
many places gods or spirits wero found, but their 
relation to each other was vague and indistinct. Con- 
sequently the life and worship that result^s, while pos- 
sessing a certain amount of order, must also be compli- 
cated and confused ; for things that had their origin 
in chance and caprice grew into customs, customs crossed 
each other and lx;camo hard. While everything was 
in some sense alive, special events and startling ap- 
pearances had even more a Divine character. Thus 
the facts of life receive a religious interpretation, but 
tliere is little orderly reason, booanse when once the 
presence of a god is recognised that is roganled as a 
sufficient explanation. His action may be what we 
call " arbitrary," but, of course, a god cannot be 
expected to conform to a standard of reason and right 



THE RELIGION OF ISRAEL 



83 



to which the noblest worshippers have not yet attained. 
This makes it natural that fear should play a largo 
part in religion, that gifts should be made and sacri- 
fices offered to propitiate the god who was angry, or 
to provide against an uncertain but possible outbreak 
of his anger. In later times, when a nobler religious 
life began to permeate these things, men discovered 
a just and noble cause for such anger (2 S. 21). With 
regard to the minor deities or subordinate spirits 
charms might be used, or amulets worn, or vaiious 
means that we now call " superstitious " employed to 
avert misfortune or to bring " good luck." When one 
. remembers the abundant testimony to this early 
} " spiritualism " from other Semitic sources, we wonder 
■• that the OT deals so little directly with it ; but the 
literature is the result of selection, and there are abun- 
dant evidences in narratives, allusions, and prohibi- 
tions. The prophetic movement grew up over against 
this varied background of " natural " religion. 

It is not likelj' that genuine totemism existed among 
the Hebrews of historic times or their immediate 
ancestors ; all we can admit is that certain tribal 
names and some of the food taboos may ultimately be 
traced to reminiscences of such primitive religion. 
Late superstitions may still retain in their mongrel 
worships remnants of rites belonging to remote times 
(Ezek. 89). 

With regard to ancestor worship the case seems to 
be stronger. The family and the tribe were in ancient 
times rooted in religious beliefs and observances. In 
such nations as China, remarkable during a great part 
of their existence for intense conservatism, we see the 
influence of homage paid to the past in this form. In 
tribal forms of life among the early Semites it seems 
to have played a great part. The Hebrews were de- 
livered from abject slavery to the past by their changing 
circumstances, their internal and external struggles, 
their independence of spirit, and above all the influence 
of prophetic men ; but there are things in their hfe 
and literature which suggest that this form of religion 
exercised a real influence. The intense desire for 
offspring and the strong effort to perpetuate the family 
name probably mean more than the natural instinct of 
procreation ; they have behind them powerful traditions 
and a high rehgious sanction (Gen. 8824). The " ghost " 
of Samuel is referred to (1 8. 2813) as Elohim (god). 
The sacrificial clan feast (1 S. 2O29) and the mourning 
customs are interpreted by many in the same direction. 
Ceremonies connected with such things linger on when 
their origin has been wholh' or partly forgotten ; but 
the legislators and the preachers of a purer faith, in 
their jealousy for the supremacy of Yahweh, felt a 
repugnance to customs that belonged to a sphere 
which in their day had become " heathenish " and 
" superstitious." With them it was not a mere matter 
of " archaeology " (Kautzsch, HDB) but of actual 
rehgious life. 

Circumcision (Gen. 17', pp. 99f .) is a rite with a long 
history. In later times it was performed when the male 
child, at the end of the first week of it^ life, was dedicated 
<o the God of Israel, and it became a distinctive mark 
of Judaism ; but it was a primitive rite among many 
nations, and not a discovery of Abraham or Moses or 
a monopoly of the Israelites. The various traditions 
in the OT as to its origin and intention represent dif- 
ferent points of view (Gen. 17 * ; Ex. 426 ; Jos. 53 *). 
yThis mutilation, in the early days, was no doubt a 
• rite of initiation into full membership in the tribe, 
when the youni; man was considered t|ualifiod to assume 
the duties of husband and soldier. The strange story 
in Ex. 4 may be meant to explain the transfer to 



childhood of an act of blood- dedication which left on 
the person a permanent tribal mark. The original form 
of the passover sacrifice (pp. 102f., 177f.), before it be- 
came associated with the feast of unleavened bread and 
received an historical interpretation, no doubt goes back 
to the nomadic days. We cannot, in a brief review, 
attempt to trace all these details or to discuss contro- 
verted points (see article, " The Rehgious Institutions 
of Israel "), but we need to bear in mind all the time 
that we are dealing with the complicat'Cd story of 
human hfe, and not with an abstract theology. The 
Mosaic period is not a blank space upon which a new 
revelation is written in a mechanical fashion ; the 
Israelites do not come into an empty land free from 
history and destitute of customs. The new must 
relate itself to the old in the way of conflict or absorp- 
tion. Different types of thought and different modes 
of worship meet and mingle, but the faith in Yahweh 
shows its originality and strength by its power to five 
and conquer. For example, suppose we ask the 
question, " Was human sacrifice ever a part of Hebrew 
religion ? " The answer wifl depend upon our point 
of ^^ew. It certainly does not belong to the religion 
of Yahweh, and never receives the sanction of any 
prophet. Hebrew rehgion first modified and then 
banished this ancient widespread and barbarous 
custom. But we know from clear statements that 
child-sacrifice was practised down to a late time by 
superstitious or despairing Israefites (p. 99 Jer. 731). 
Such polemics against this custom as we find in the 
beautiful story or noble sermon show that it had a real 
hold on the minds of many people (Gen. 22", Mi. 61-8). 
The case of Jephthah's daughter shows the possibility 
of such a sacrifice among early Israelites from a quite 
honourable motive ; the vow is to Yahweh, and He 
chooses the sacrifice. But two things must be borne 
m mind, viz. the probability that such occurrences 
were much less frequent among the ancestors of the 
Hebrews, who led a stem, simple life, than among the 
Canaanites, and that such desperate religious remedies 
are apt to be used in times of great confusion and dis- 
tress. Alongside of the highest prophetic teaching 
these tragic relapses may take place. Further, in 
the thought of that time, when all public activity was 
completely controlled by religious motives, people 
saw " sacrifice " where we do not see it. The de- 
struction of Achan and his family (Jos. 7), Agag hewed 
in pieces by Samuel " before Yahweh '(IS. 1032), 
and the impaling of the seven sons of Saul " before 
Yahweh " (2 S. 21 9), may all be classed as judicial 
procedure, exercised according to the tribal ideas of 
that time, but to the ancients there is in them a sacri- 
ficial and propitiatory element. Ideas attached to 
lower gods and demons were transferred to Yahweh, 
and then the thoughts concerning His being and 
character received a fuller purification and enlargement. 
The higher stage does not completely displace the 
lower ; but there is an increase in the complexity and 
richness of life all round, with brilliant hghts and deep, 
dark shades. The same remarks may be made and 
the same principles applied to the question of " idol " 
or " image worship." It took many centuries of 
struggle before a man of the highest intelligence could 
boldly declare that " an idol is nothing in the world " 
(1 Cor. 84), and even then such a man stood far above 
the popular view, and even he did not profess to dis- 
miss in an easy fashion " the powers of darkness " 
(Eph. 612). Images were in use in the early days, 
when men did not distinguish as we do between 
symbol and re?,lity (Gen. 31 33, 204. 1 S. 1926). Tho 
image or sacred thing had something of Divine power 



84 



THE RELIGION OF ISRAEL 



or magic in it. Natural objects might be so regarded, 
and manufactured articles in a later period. Against 
the latter a religious conservatism might protest, aa 
in this region there is a peculiar sensitiveness towards 
novt'lties and luxuries. The prohibition of " graven 
images " may not at first have included all symbols 
or objects of worship. The tnie religion does not 
come at first as an abstract creed, but works aa a 
living principle from within, which only gradually 
discloses its full meaning and rejects that which is out 
of harmony with its essential nature. 

The Mosaic Period. — With the modern view as to 
the datei and coniposit-e character of the Pentateuch, 
wo can no longer regard Abraham as the actual founder 
of Hebrew religion, though, as wo have suggested, 
beliefs and customs of pre-historic times persisted, 
among the people, down to a late date. The narratives 
now grouped round the name of Moses belong to 
different periods and represent varied points of view. 
But the groat body of OT scholars believe that the 
real history of the nation and its religion begins with 
tho work of this great leader, who united several 
tribes and led them to the East Jordan region. If 
he was not the author of a complicated literature and 
elaborate legislation, he no doubt, according to the 
usage of these days, united in himself some of the 
simpler functions of priest and prophet as well as those 
of military ruler and guide. If we are prepared to 
treat the present tradition and the present text with 
any respect, this at least we must accept. It does 
not follow that he was conversant with Egyptian 
speculations and the complete development of Baby- 
lonian civic law. The earliest code that we can trace 
(Ex. 34i7ff.) is brief, simple, rpainly ritualistic, and 
already shows tho influence of agricultural life. What, 
then, can we regard as the Mosaic contribution ? It ia 
not possible in this sketch to enter into elaborate dis- 
cussions as to the origin and meaning of the sacred name 
" Yahweh " (Ex. 313-15'). In the OT there arc different 
views as to the time when this name and the worship 
connected with it entered into the life of Israel and of 
the world (Gen. 426. Ex. 815, 63). The Scripture 
etymologies also, while revealing the thought of the 
day in which they arose, cannot be regarded as scien- 
tific or ultimate. The exact origin and original mean- 
ing of such words (e.g. the English " God ") are lost 
in the obscurity of the remote past. Neither can we 
face the question of the relations of the early Hebrews 
to the Kenites, and their mutual influence in the 
region of politics and religion. Such relationship no 
doubt exerted an influence not only during the sojourn 
at the sanctuary at Kadesh, but also at a later time 
(Ex. 18; Jg. I16, 411,17-22, 1 Ch. 255). Moses had 
gathered a number of tribes together, and was prepar- 
ing them to press into the West Jordan region to find 
a permanent home. They had their separate family 
affiliations and their different clan customs. But 
success in their present undertaking demanded a 
largo measure of unity and co-operation and this could 
Ix) created only by a powerful religious impulse. This 
impulse was given by belief in Yahweh as tho God 
commoTito all the tribes, and faith in the power of His 
name as redeemer and leader. In God's good providence 
Moses was the man chosen as tho instrument to kindle 
this faith and to give tho highest expression that it 
could receive at tliat time. For, while we can now 
talk freely about eternal principles and the ■' timelcss- 
ncss " of Scripture, we cannot study tho origin and 
growth of a great religion without seeing that every 
great truth has had to come in lowly, concrete form, 
limited and conditioned by tho circumstances of a 



particular time and place. This, then, is tho birth- 
liour of the Hebrew nation and religion, an event of 
immense importance for the religious life of the world. 
Though the idea of " a covenant " between Yahweh 
and Israel has been expanded and presented from dif- 
ferent points of view by later prophetic and literary 
activity, it is no doubt here in a simple form and haa 
a real ethical character. Yahweh had chosen His 
people, and would give them support against their 
foes and provide a home for them. Here, though tho 
situation is a narrow national one, it is at a higher 
plane than any mere " nature " worship or absolutely 
local deity. The God who goes forth to war with and 
for His people, whose presence is manifested in the 
storm or in great volcanic shocks, is a mighty God 
who is likely to be a confjueror in many senses. All 
the battles of Israel were fought in the spirit of a high 
religious faith, and even in early times it was felt that 
defeat might be due not to the weakness of their 
God, but to failure on the part of His servants to keep 
His laws. True, these laws might be regarded as 
largely a matter of ritual, for, aa we shall see, the 
contribution of tho great prophets did add something 
in this respect ; but the idea of God is beginning to 
act as a bond of union between tribes that are similar 
and yet different, and ia beginning to show a freedom 
of movement and capability of progress that haa the 
promise of great things, however dimly apprehended 
at the time. Thus, though we are compelled to view 
him through the varied traditions that have gathered 
round his name in the course of several centuries, we 
may still regard Moses as, in a real sense, a man of 
prophetic spirit, the founder of the Hebrew faith. 
That his work was real, as far as it went, is proved by 
the fact that the religion was not completely destroyed 
by the fierce, chaotic struggles which followed im- 
mediately on the entrance into Palestine. In many 
cases conquerors have been absorbed by the peoples 
of the land they have entered. In this case the same 
effect followed to some extent, but the original religious 
impulse was never completely lost, and it gave to its 
possessors the power to absorb necessary elements of 
faith without losing their distinctive character. From 
Moses down to Philo men boldly claimed the best in 
this world as belonging to " Yahweh," and so as the 
property of His ])eopIe. The Christian religion has, 
with more catholicitj', inherited the same spirit, 
claiming that all things are to be brought into sub- 
mission to Christ. In other countries tho territory 
of the god increased with the growth of the city ; 
but here we are compelled to find something more 
real — a spiritual life, and not a mechanical matter 
of more political accretion. While admitting tho 
baffling nature of all origins, we believe that a new 
chapter in tho history of religion begins here ; that, 
though Moses was not a literary man or a systematic 
theologian, he had a real message from the eternal God, 
whoso highest messenger always appears in tho lowly 
form of a servant. Men rightly looked back to this 
as a great hour (Hos. lli). Prophets and priesta 
idealised it, each from their own standpoint ; 'and the 
belief that this was an hour of new revelation was 
never lost. Of course it was germinal ; it would h; 
been just as difficult for any human observer of that 
time to tell exactly what would come out of it. aa it 
is for \i8 now to disentangle its exact feature out of a 
mass of varied and in some respects contradictory 
material. A struggling mass of human beings, weary 
of the wandering life, fighting for a new home, feeling 
that the great blessing they needed from their God was; 
their daily broad and a place to live in peace — this wi 



^1 



THE RELIGION OF ISRAEL 



85 



the unpromising material out of which sprang tho 
greatest religious movement that this world has known. 
But in it, with its simple elemental facts and its 
complexity of motives, may be found a symbol and 
suggestion of many similar movements, when men have 
been thrown back upon tho abiding mercy and supreme 
power of God. 

The Period of Struggle and Settlement. — The picture 
given in tho original parts of Jg. is what we might 
expect under the circumstances. Tradition rightly 
represents that time as one of confusion, struggle, 
assimilation. No real poUtical unity had been attained. 
" In those days there was no king in Israel : every 
man did that "which was right in his own eyes " ( Jg. 
2I25). The material has been set in a later form and 
interpreted by a simple formal religious philosophy, 
but the primitive records tell of only partial conquest, 
involving perpetual conflict. It is easy to see what 
kind of theology and religious ceremonies were likely 
to grow in such a time and place. There is little of 
purity or exclusiveness either in race or religion. The 
Song of Deborah shows that only part of the tribes 
gather for the great effort. In this noble battle-song 
there is no " theology," and its praise of Jael is re- 
volting to our moral sense. But it is still clear that, 
in so far as there is unity and strength to fight for 
national existence, it is inspired by the common faith 
in Yahweh. Samson marries outside his clan ; the 
sons of Benjamin take wives by capture ; Jephthah, 
the son of a strange woman, sacrifices his daughter ; 
Gideon takes the spoils of war to make an image ; 
Micah's mother uses the restored silver to make an 
image " unto Yahweh " ; and the children of Dan 
think it a firre thing to steal the religious apparatus 
that other people have got carefully together (Jg. 
I817). This is not very edifying reading, either from 
the Jewish or the Christian point of view, but it is 
full of interest as a picture of life, political and religious, 
in those rude days. The noble effort of the great 
founder seems to have failed ; it looks as if nothing 
great or permanent can come out of this disorder, this 
apparently disconnected and aimless struggle. But 
it is the turmoil of a new hfe, and not the convulsive 
struggles that betoken the last agony. Much in the 
previous civilisation might be decadent, sensual ; 
religious indulgence had weakened the life of the 
country, and its cities had no real bond of unity ; 
but here were members of a new and virile race, fresh 
from the open country', their faces set towards the 
future, their faith alive in a real God, who showed 
His goings forth in the mightiest movements of nature 
and in the battles of their daily life. So even here 
there was a real movement towards a unity higher 
than that of the mere family or clan. From these 
stories we learn that religious ceremonies were con- 
nected with all the chief facts of life. The father of 
the family or head of the clan might officiate as the 
representative of the community, but there were also 
professional priests, men attached to a family or local 
sanctuary or wandering tribe. Such men offered 
sacrifices and consulted the oracle on behalf of their 
patrons. But the elaborate system and finely regu- 
lated spiritual hierarchy of later times had not come 
into existence, though the ideas that it represented 
were in some cases struggling for expression. Tho 
prophet and the priest were not as clearly separated 
as in later days. Samuel acts in both capacities. 
One general difference there was, namely, that the 

finest was more likely to inherit his office and to be 
aatened to a particular place. The priesthood of a 
particular sanctuary might remain in the posses.sion 



of one family or clan. This made the priests the 
custodians and guardians of a special tradition and 
ritual, varying in different locaUties, but with many 
features in common. 

There were also " seers," " wise men," and 
" prophets " of various types at this stage. Their 
functions were not clearly defined ; by their superior 
insight, ability, and acknowledged relation to God, 
they were able to render service to their fellow-men. 
The structure of society was simple, and the various 
professional services were not elaborately organised, 
but the needs of men were similar in all times. Re- 
ligious guidance, social help, the pursuit of justice, 
and the interpretation of uncommon facts of life — 
these made room for real spiritual insight or for 
showy charlatanism or petty quackery, as in our day. 
But the prophets that we are most concerned with 
now are tho bands of patriotic enthusiasts who arose 
in times of excitement or danger, and in a real if in 
a rude way kept alive the fiery energy of the Yahweh 
religion. Some among their compatriots might regard 
them as " mad," and look with cooler criticism upon 
their wild performances, but generally abnormal 
sensational outbursts were attributed to " the spirit 
of Yahweh " (2 K. 9i i ). Saul was caught in the 
contagion of this frenzied worship, to the surprise of 
those who knew him (1 S. lOii). These bands stood 
for loyalty to Yahweh and opposition to Philistine 
oppression, and no doubt played a real part in the 
struggles which prepared the way for the kingdom. 
Here, at any rate, was the belief that God could use 
men as His instruments, sending His Spirit to trouble 
or to give them courage and strength. The same motive 
and the same power moved " the heroes " who fought 
against the surrounding peoples when they sought to 
divide and oppress the Israelites. The strong indig- 
nation and furious resentment which prompted men 
to determined resistance and fierce vengeance were 
regarded as the result of the oncoming of Yahweh's 
Spirit (Jg. 1325, l'l6, 15i4, 1 S. Il6). Saul, who did 
real work in the effort towards national unity, was a 
capable man, a true patriot; he sends round the 
" fiery cross " in the hour of need, he falls in with 
the effort to check sorcery and witchcraft, and yet in 
his moments of weakness he is troubled with " an 
evil spirit," which produces jealousy and melancholy, 
and in the crisis, before his final defeat, he has 
recourse to " a witch," who professes to raise the dead 
(1 S. 28). 

Another element that has to be reckoned with is the 
conservatism or puritanism of those who looked back 
upon the ideal of the desert life as simpler and more 
religious. The culture of the vine and the use of its 
products appeared to them as disloyalty to Yahweh. 
These people were no doubt lacking in flexibility and 
progressiveness, but the real reason of their protest 
was religious — their objection to religious rites con- 
nected with the new culture, and the fact that much 
sensuality was associated with tho Baal-worship of 
the land. A great movement is tho resultant of many 
forces, and the protest against effeminate lu.xury and 
unbridled indulgence was not without its representa- 
tives in the earlier days. 

The one thoiight that was about to be worked out 
clearly was that the Israelites were Yahweh's people, 
and their worship was due to Him alone as their 
benefactor in times of peace and their protector in 
days of war. The gods of other peoples might have 
their own place and territory (Jg. 11 24). There was 
as yet no world outlook or dream of missionary' effort. 
A fugitive or stranger who came within the borders 



THE RELIGION OF ISRAEL 



of Israel must, of course, join himself to some clan 
and place himself under the protection of Israel's 
God. 

The Work of David.— The work that Saul had under- 
taken received a c(>rtain completion under his suc- 
cessor, David. Though the united kingdom lasted 
only some seventy years, his work was of permanent 
importance. He was a loyal worshipper and servant 
of Yahweh, with clear knowledge of the situation. He 
made Jerusalem the political and religious centre for 
the whole kingdom, and it has occupied a central 
position in the world's history or in the regard of 
mankind ever since. Wo cannot think of him as a 
theologian or hymn-writer ; he was a soldier and states- 
man. A great part of his life was spent in wandering 
or in war, and when ho came to the possession of large 
power ho had many troubles with his family and the 
rough soldiers upon whom he had been compelled to 
depend. We have a suggestive and reliable, if not a 
perfect or systematic, picture of his life and times. 
For him Yahweh was a great God, the supreme God 
of Israel, though His actual rule is limited to Israel's 
territory (1 S. 2619). The striking story of 2 S. 21 
shows that he, and the Church of his time, still stood 
on the old tribal level (c/. Dt. 24i6, Jcr, 3I30, Ezek. 
I820). What a great step from this to the advanced 
theology of Ps. 1.39, attributed by later scribes to this 
great king ! However, the union of the tribes and the 
choice of an important capital city was an event of 
religious importance for the life of Israel and the 
world. The local sanctuaries still had their place, 
and religious officials of various kinds were scattered 
throughout the land. But the bringing of the Ark 
to Jerusalem and the desire for a permanent dwelling- 
place of Yahweh marked an advance. 

At the king's court soldiers, councillors, priests, and 
prophets were assembled, and a new and more im- 
portant centre of life was thus formed. The king 
was a man of his time, in many ways rough, impulsive, 
self-willed ; but he leaves upon us the impression of 
rare strength, power of leadership, a certain frankness 
of nature, and magnanimity of spirit. He receives 
counsel from " a wise woman," accepts meekly the 
.stem rebuke of Nathan, and seeks to restrain the fierce 
men of blood whom he has had to use as his instru- 
ments. Judged by the standards of his own time he 
is a true and noble embodiment of Israel's religion. 
He is loyal to Yahweh, and is not content with a mere 
formal worship. He comes into the main current of 
this great religious movement ; he would give due 
honour to the God of his fathers, from whom his king- 
ship came ; and he prepared the way for " the city 
of God," of whose full glory and influence ho never 
dreamed. Before there could be a national religion, 
in the full sense, the nation must be created ; then, 
when the national religion came, it must take time to 
realise its tnie nature before the consciousness could 
arise that here was something of more than national 
significance. This was, in the meantime, merely a new 
fixed point in the midst of a political life that was still 
restless and unstable. One needs to remember the 
difference between the small communities in Palestine 
and the large empires of Assyria or Babylonia. In 
great regions covered by one complex civil and military 
organisation officialism reigned supreme; there were 
millions of human beings that were severely drilled 
to take their part as units in an immense machine. 
This made possible the network of canals, the great 
cities and lofty towers, magnificent products of human 
skill, that were a cause of astonishment and religious 
reflection to simpler peoples (Gen. II1-9). On the 



other hand, the tribes of Israel had not been subject 
to any such " steam-roller process " as tended to crush 
ijidividuality and destroy local peculiarities. They 
were a " stiff-necked people " (Dt. 913). That appro- 
priate phrase, spoken in blame, suggests to us some- 
thing that is not altogether evil. Their great religious 
contribution to the world could never have come from 
a soft, pliable people, easily influenced and easily 
losing impressions. The separateness of family and 
elan, which lent itself to the eaay formation of 
" faction," had its advantages from the point of view 
of religious progress. Wo see now, more clearly than 
over, that it was not a smooth, easy movement ; there 
was fighting at every point, against external foes and 
internal division. No new stage W£i8 gained without 
a fierce contest, and when a great truth was conquered 
it was fixed in forms that would not easily die. Thus 
we can iinderstand the reaction against the united 
kingdom which led to the disruption immediately 
after the death of Solomon. Religion, politics, and 
what wo now call " economic " causes all played a 
part. There was an objection to rapid centralisation, 
forced labour, and heavy taxes for the glory of the 
king and the enrichment of the capital city. There 
was always a democratic vein in prophecy, and the 
oriental deification of the actual king could not easily 
find a place in the religion of Yahweh. An interesting 
anticipatio!! of the impression produced by the tyranny 
of the king and the extravagance of the court has been 
placed in the mouth of Samuel (1 S. 8). This revolt 
against the authorities in Jerusalem, and the setting 
up of a prosperous kingdom in the north, which gained 
a strong and attractive capital at Samaria, was a 
source of political weakness. But the possible rivalry, 
when it did not degenerate into fratricidal strife, tended 
to produce a fuller, richer life. Complete centralisa- 
tion and uniformity at this stage would have had a 
cramping effect. Both kingdoms claimed Yahweh as 
their God, and had in many respects a common life 
and literature. There was now, as the communities 
became more settled, an increase in the spread of edu- 
cation. Court chronicles began to bo kept, simple 
codes of laws arranged (Ex. 20-23), and collections 
of songs and stories to be made (Jos. IO13, 2 S. I17). 
This material, existing before in written fragments or 
as oral tradition, began to be gathered in simple syste- 
matic forms, and so the earliest foundations were laid 
for our present OT (pp. 44f.). 

The Work of Elijah. — The name of this great prophet 
has come to na in a blaze of glory ; the stories that 
tell of his life and work have a high literary character 
and great spiritual power. To have produced such an 
impression and left such a record he must have been a 
man of wonderful energy and a prophet of great dis- 
tinction. Here, as elsewhere, we have to remember 
that the idea which plays such an important part in 
our explanation of nature and history had not c®me 
to clear expression then, viz. that of process. There 
is a tendency in ancient literature, and particularly in 
Hebrew story, to gatlier under the name of one man 
achievements that represent the struggle of a genera- 
tion or more of intelligent and heroic workers. This 
is true in the ease of all such great names as Moses, 
Joshua, David. Solomon, and EUjah. Hence, at this 
point we need to review not so much the life of this 
particular prophet as the whole relation of Hebrew 
religion to the life of Canaan. Elijah is a prophet of 
the desert ; he represents the old faith and the stem 
simplicity of nomad religion ; ho is at homo in the 
wilderness, and flees for refuge to the ancient moun- 
tain sanctuary of Horeb. He has left no Bermons ; 



THE RELIGION OF ISRAEL 



87 



he was no theologian. He makes no claim for the 
centralisation of worship ; he does not discuss details 
of ritual ; ho frankly recognises the use of many altars 
(1 K. 1914), but he declares that the people of Israel, 
under the influence of the court, are turning to the 
worship of the Tyrian Baal. Yahweh alone must bo 
worshipped by Israelites. The question as to the use 

'of images or symbols is not raised. The demand is 
for the exclusive worship of Yahweh by His osvn people. 
Without attempting a critical analysis and estimate of 
the documents here involved, it seems evident that in 
this period, both in Israel and Judah, there was a 
revolt against the Baal-worship introduced througiithe 
connexion of the royal families with the dynasty of 
Tyre. If such worship had been confined to small 
circles of foreigners it could scarcely have caused such 
a sensation, though there was an increasing apprehen- 
sion of the fact that Yahweh was " a jealous God." 
Probably many Israelites were becoming lax and too 
tolerant, and so stimulated the zeal of the stricter 
devotees. The fact that Elijah resisted the tyranny 
and oppression of the rulers, as shown in the case of 
Naboth's vineyard, shows that he stands in the line 
of the true yjrophetic tradition that Israel's God is 
the defender of simple justice and the avenger of inno- 
cent blood (Gen. 4io). That is a great thought of 
God, at a time when men generally accepted the king 
as a kind of god above the law, entitled to gratify, 
without scruple, his arbitrary will. The greatest 
battles for liberty in this world have been fought by 
men who appealed to a God of justice against the unjust 
claims of Caesar. Turning again to the theological 
side of the situation, the point to be emphasized is 
that the Yahweh religion, having absorbed much nutri- 
ment from Canaanite culture and Baal-worship, now, 
in the person of its strict representatives, felt itself 
quite foreign and superior to the similar Phoenician 
worship that was threatening an invasion. Hebrew 
religion can tolerate no appearance of rivalry within 
its own territory ; that must be made clear in a reli- 
gion that is destined to still larger conquests. The 
characteristic of the true religion is that it is alive, 
which in the highest sense means not simply the power 
to fight for a bare name or abstract formula, but much 
more the power to enrich its own idea of religion and 
of God by absorbing true elements from the culture 
w th which it comes in contact. We have now passed 
the time when we regard any great system of faith 
and worship as completely and absolutely false ; we 
know that in a world which belongs to God such a 
system would soon fall to pieces. Further, when two 
systems come into contact and conflict, wliile that 
which is higher may ultimately prevail, it can do so 
only on the condition of completing itself even from 
a hostile .source. Through all these struggles with 
the Canaanites the Hebrews maintained the name of 
Yahweh their God, and their faith in Him was the 
bond of union and the inspiration of any heroic and 
successful action. As we have already suggested, 
tribal traditions and family usages remained in full 
force, and onlj-^ gradually and by slow action and re- 

. action were they eliminated or reinterpreted and trans- 
formed. The same process took place in regard to 
Canaanite customs. To some of these the real repre- 
Bentativcs of Hebrew religion were sternly and con- 
sistently opposed, while the mass of the people were 
easily induced to follow the prevailing fashions. As 
they became more completely a settled people they 
must be more thoroughly influenced by the religious 
beliefs and ceremonies connected with the culture of 
the soil The name Baal means lord or owner ; it 



is not in itself the name of the god of a wholo land 
.or tribe, but of the patron god of a particular locality. 
The shade of meaning attached at any time to such a 
word must necessarily be vague and variable. To the 
popular mind there were many Baals, just as in Roman 
Catholic countries, among simple and unreflecting 
people, " Our Lady " of a particular city acquires 
special local quaUties, and is differentiated from other 
manifestations of the One Virgin (Notre Dame da 
Paris, Notre Dame de Lourdcs, etc.). The Baal meant 
the divinity that gave fruitfuhiess to a piece of soil 
As such fruitfulness is similar in all cases, it might 
easily be generalised and a general significance be 
given to the name ; but side by side the belief could 
remain in a number of particular Baals. The IsraeUte 
teachers maintained that Yahweh was one (Dt. G4). 
They were clear on that point. There might be many 
Baals — that would need investigation — but as to this 
there could be no doubt, that it was one and the same 
Yahweh who manifested Himself to the believing 
Israelites wherever the conditions were favourable to 
His appearance. This is much more important than 
it appears on the surface : the search of the highest 
philosophy and deepest religious feeling is for unity 
behind all the varied appearances of nature and mani- 
festations of life. The unity of Yahweh- worship over 
against the divisions and distractions of Baal-worship 
is a real revelation, a great advance in this movement. 
But a bare unity or a mere name cannot have the 
highest power ; the claim must be made that Yahweh 
is the God of the pleasant, fruitful land as well as of 
the fierce storm and " the great and terrible wilder- 
ness." This means the transference of ancient 
sanctuaries and altars to Yahweh, and the adoption 
of Canaanite forms of worship, and there is always 
danger in such assimilation. But this inevitable 
movement carried with it the possibility of an enlarge- 
ment and enrichment of thought of Yahweh as " the 
God of nature " in a fuller sense than before. Both 
these things are clearly implied in the later polemic 
of Hosea and Deuteronomj-. The enervating, corrupt- 
ing influence of Baal-worship was recognised, but the 
claim was clearly stated that the reason for such 
worship lay in the fact that men attributed to the local 
Baals powers and gifts which really belonged to the 
supreme Lord, Yahweh. We are now specially con- 
cerned to notice that, while during their earlj' centuries 
of toilsome effort, spent in acquiring a sure settlement 
in the land, the life and refigion of the people had 
been largely influenced by the new conditions, they 
themselves were not conscious of the extent of that 
influence, but maintained their full loyalty to Yahweh. 
They worshipped Yahweh at various sanctuaries, with 
pilgrimages and festivals, with ritual and sacrifice ; 
they had departed from the simple desert standard, 
and entered fully into the hfe of their new home, but yet 
they had learned to cherish a certain healthy intoler- 
ance and oxclusiveness. Elijah represents for us this 
revolt against any other god, and he calls upon the 
people to choose between Yahweh and Baal, as in the 
circumstances it was not possible to serve two masters. 
This became a political issue, with conspiracies and 
massacres following in its train ; it led to a change of 
dyna.sty in tlio north, and brought into the kingdom 
a spirit of faction that prepared the way for its final 
destruction. The strict toilowors of Yahweh no doubt 
represented a larger and pUrer faith ; they were in 
the main stream, they had a permanent contribution 
to make to the life of humanity, but their temper was 
violent, their methods rude. The picture of the giant 
Ehjali over against the peevish weakling Ahab may 



isS 



THE RELIOION OF ISRAEL 



in its sharp contrast be powerful poetry rather than 
finely-balanced history ; but in such a striking state- 
ment as that Ahab went up to eat and drink and Elijah 
went up to the top of Carmel to learn the Divine pur- 
pose (1 K. I842) there is a true impression of the 
nature of the contending forces. Out of the conflict 
there came, both for Israel and Judah, a fuller and 
clearer recognition of the fact that Yahweh, and 
Yahweh alone, was the God of all true Israelites. 
There was also a fuller consciousness of what was 
meant by that statement. If Yahweh had not yet 
conquered the world or completely e.xtended His rule 
into the dark underworld of Sheol, Ho had secured 
the lordship of Palestine and the acknowledgment that 
there no gods could be tolerated alongside of Him. 
It was universally admitted that to be a true Israelite 
meant to give exclusive worship to Yahweh ; priests, 
prophets, leaders, and people had all come to this. 
All commerce with other gods or demons with heathenish 
sorcery and magic must be a shameful, secret thing. 

The Prophetic Movement. — This brings us to what is 
called " the prophetic movement " in the strictest 
sense, althougli we must not forget the -warning that 
in a living process we must not make our distinctions 
and differences too deep. Some of the early narratives 
show material that is handled in " a prophetic spirit," 
and they reveal the sense of man's " sinfulness," wliich 
it was the work of the prophets to deepen and define 
(<•/. Gen. 3, 6, 11). For example, Isaiah lays great stress 
on the feebleness and futility of human arrogance 
(Is. 2/.), and the same subject is treated in a different 
form, but with some similarity of spirit, in the stories 
of Paradise and the Tower of Babel. 

Our attention is now called to the work of those 
prophets ^^'ho were the first to transmit to posterity 
actual notes of their sermons. These are the prophets 
of the Assyrian period — Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, and 
Micah. For the purpose of this brief sketch the books 
of Nah., Hab., and Zeph. may be neglected, since, in 
so far as they have any significant message, it is de- 
pendent on the great original preachers. The critical 
questions must be left untouched and results of recent 
research assumed. We seek to understand the message 
of these preachers, and how we can best state its 
relation to what has gone before. The careful com- 
position of the sermons, brief and few as they are, 
shows that literary influences had been for some time 
at work. Their prsservation proves that even in 
these troubled times there were students and disciples 
(Is. 816, 3O3). These four eighth-century prophets 
have their differences of circumstances, temperament, 
and style, but they join in the one protest against the 
social weakness and impure worship of their time, and, 
broadly speaking, present the same message and make 
the same demands. Amos, the stern messenger to 
Israel from outside ; Hosea, emotional, tender, and 
showing intimacy and sympathy even in his denuncia- 
tions ; Isaiah, the man of the cit}*, courtier, and states- 
man ; Micah, the rude peasant of the Judasan low- 
lands — these men have much in common. They give 
us a striking proof that Yahweh, the living God, is 
one — one in His purpose through history, one in His 
demand for justice and call for service. They regarded 
themselves as conservatives, and in the best sense this 
was true. They might to a certain extent idealise 
the past, but two facts in this connexion we must 
recognise : {a) There is deterioration as well as pro- 
gress in the life of a nation which, on the whole, is 
moving upward ; hence there is something to be 
learned from the simplicity and brotherliness of earlier 
days. (6) These prophets were not absolutely new 



in their life and original in their thought ; they did 
rest upon a real liistorical basis and manifested a real 
continuity of life. Further, in any time of transition, 
in living creative periods, the only way to conserve 
the revelation of the past is to reach the heart of it, 
bring out its real meaning, and show ita application 
to the new age. Our ultimate explanation of such 
men may be that God called them, manifested to them 
His gloiy, and revealed to them His will. But this 
happens in particular circuirtstancos and under certain 
conditions. Natural environment and economic causes 
can nev^er be for us the full explanation of the move- 
ment of the Divine and human spirit. We must not, 
however, ignore these, since the consideration of them 
helps us to realise that these prophets were men like 
oui-selves, face to face with definite social problems, 
in a time of unrest and transition, seeking the solution 
by a clearer recognition of God and a more intelligent 
application of religious principles. In fact, Israel 
could not have been God's greatest instrument for the 
preparation of a world-wide religion if her life had 
been perpetually fixed and fastened down to one form, 
semi-nomad or pastoral. Old truth can be enlarged 
and new principles brought to light only by the claims 
of new circumstances and the demand of new needs. 
By the growth of commerce, increase of wealth, en- 
largement of cities, old tribal arrangements and clan 
ties had broken down. It is the direct or implicit 
complaint of all these prophets that Israehtes, in 
regard to each other, are " more than kin but less than 
kind." The arrangement by which every family 
could have its traet of land, every man his own 
house, and small communities live together in a 
brotherly spirit, with slight inequalities of social 
conditions — that state of things could no longer be 
maintained. Denunciation of the greedy laud- 
grabbers, the careless or unjust rulers, and the arrogant 
rich oppressors, now appears as a regular part of the 
preacher's programme. It has come back at different 
periods, and has reached a larger form in our own day ; 
but the moral basis and roHgious inspiration must 
always come from the great prophetic ideas. The 
period in which this prophetic movement takes its 
rise was evidently a time of prosperity, for many could 
indulge in vulgar display and luxurious living ; but, 
as ever, social unrest, coming from the oppression of 
the poor and the perversion of justice, was the result 
of the unequal distribution of wealth and the lack of 
unselfish loaderahip. A strongly-marked feature of 
the genuine oracles of Micah is their fierce denunciation 
of the wickedness and foll3' of the ruling classes. 

Neglecting for tiie moment any special theological 
peculiarities of particular prophets, we may sum up 
their teaching as referring to this world and being 
social and moral in its character. Thoy do not face 
the question of personal immortahty, and it is doubtful 
whether they give any clear programme as to the future 
of the nation beyond the fact of an imminent severe 
judgment, which will partly destroy and partly purify 
the community, ^\■ilen we speak of their message as 
social, we mean that tiioy arc dealing with men not 
in their individual capacity as separate souls, but as 
members of the community, and that they set forth 
religion as the right discharge of social obligations. 
When we say that it is moral, we give prominence to 
the fact that they denounce the attempt to make ritual 
a substitute for social goodness. Tiioy are not de- 
nouncing Baal-worship or discussing the value of 
symbolism ; their position is that this is not the kind 
of worship and service that Yahweh requires (Am. 44, 
521-24, lios. 60, Is. 1 10-17, Mi. 3io). It has 



THE RELIGION OF ISRAEL 



89 



been settled that there is only one God for Israel ; 
the question of the nature of the worship and service 
that He can require and will accept is now lifted to a 
higher plane. How far and in what way these men 
would have abolished or reformed the existing cultus 
we cannot say. We may conjecture that Isaiah loved 
the Temple, and found many sacred associations with 
it ; that Micah hated the pretentious ritual used by 
the oppressors of the people ; that Amos found God 
more easily in the silence of the desert than in the 
noisy religious festivals ; and that Hosea would have 
shown more {esthetic feeling and poetic sentiment in 
handling such a subject than the stern prophets from 
the country were capable of displaying. This is 
legitimate speculation, guided by our actual knowledge 
of the men. But, after all, we have to say that they 
were engaged in a conflict against shallow, sensuous 
ritualism, and that in their polemic there ia no dis- 
cussion of fine distinctions, but a simple demand for 
honesty in private and pubhc ser\'ice, for a just adminis- 
tration of civic affairs, and a sympathetic care for the 
poor. For the first time in the history of the world 
we find what we call " social moraUty " presented aa 
the highest expression of the religious life, and this 
is done with remarkable clearness and boldness in the 
name of Israel's God. It is evident that such teaching 
is ethical in the noblest sense. But what do we mean 
when we sa3' that because it is ethical it is monotheistic ? 
The answer to this is that it is a kind of teaching that 
implies the thought of one God for the world. And 
on further reflection, if their central message is accepted, 
this implication must formulate itself in a sharper, 
more dogmatic fashion. Judgment is about to come 
upon the nation in both sections, not on account of 
the capricious anger of the deity at insufficient tribute 
in the form of sacrifices, but because of the people's 
failure to reach a certain standard of righteousness 
(Am. 32, Is. 01-7). Yahweh punishes His own people 
for their lack of goodness, this being regarded aa 
morality and not mere religiositj'. Further, the same 
standard is apphed to other tribes and natioias : they 
are to be judged not because they are non-Israehtes, 
but because of their greed, cruelty, and inhumanity 
(Am. 1). We to-day may argue that because there 
is one God there shoidd be one standard of morahty 
for pubUc and private life, and one law of justice and 
kindness among men of different creeds and nations. 
But the historical movement worked in the other 
direction. Men of true spiritual insight learned firet 
that their God required real service and not coarse 
sacrifices or magical rites, and then they advanced 
to the belief that the kingdom of this God of righteous- 
ness was not bounded by geographical or tribal limi- 
tations. But everj' step of the way had to be fought, 
for old enemies of formalism and sectarianism con- 
stantly returned in new forms, and the Jews preserved 
for others what they did not fully realise for them- 
se ves. These great beliefs were rooted in the sacred 
past of their nation, and it took a long time to bring 
out their full significance ; but now it stands in a 
clear light as a central contribution to rehgious thought, 
as one of the highest gifts of revelation. The nation 
might perish, but God and righteousness must rule. 
What sublime faith is this ! How far it soars above 
all small ritualism and narrow patriotism ! 

As a matter of fact the northern kingdom was lost, 
and it was left to the small community in Judsea to 
keep alive the sacred tradition and preserve in its 
purer fom\ the worship of Yahweh. Even in those 
days spiritual problems could not really Ixs settled by 
brute force. The internal factions within the kingdom 



of Israel, partly political, partly religious, weakened 
the government and prepared the way for the external 
foe. After the conquest of the kingdom and the fall 
of Samaria in 721 B.C., many of the inhabitants were 
taken away and other settlers brought in to take their 
place ; thus there was produced a mixed race and a 
mongrel reUgion (2 K. 176,24-41). Ehjah, but more 
probably Jehu, might delight in this grim business of 
slaughtering priests of Baal, but not thus does religion 
gain its real victories. The " ten tribes " were " lost " 
in the sense that those of them who were taken away 
had not sufficient individuality and strength of char- 
acter to retain their separateness. Those that re- 
mained in Palestine did maintain an inferior type of 
Hebrew religion, but the efforts to reunite the two 
branches after the Exile failed, and the Samaritan 
religion continued its own stunted, barren existence 
(Jn. 49,22). - 

It is not our task to attempt a detailed analysis of 
the books, to investigate the nature of prophecy and 
prediction, or to give a systematic account of the 
theology of the prophets ; but at this point a brief 
statement must be made for the purpose of bringing 
out the connexion of their work with the next phase 
of the movement. It cannot be proved, with any 
approach to certainty, that any of these four men hatl 
a definite " eschatologj' " or a clearly-defined pro- 
gramme of the destiny of the nation after the approach- 
ing judgment. Passages found in these books regard- 
ing a personal Messiah probably belong to a later date. 
According to the view we have formed of these docu- 
ments, Amos and Micah did not speculate as to the 
future course of history. Hosea, with his principle 
of a bond of love between Yahweh and His people, 
no doubt chei-ished the hope of repentance and return. 
Isaiah approaches the most closely to " a theologian " ; 
he has a central thought of Yahweh from which radiates 
all his thought of religion, as apphed to poUtics and 
civic life. To him we owe the doctrine of " the rem- 
nant," and the faith that Jerusalem would be delivered 
from the foreign foe. He spent a long time in pubho 
life ; he had to meet the people in varied circumstances 
and in many moods. On the whole, while his ministry 
was one of denunciation, there must have been many 
houi« of hope in the life of one who carried on such a 
long strife on behalf of a sane pohtical pohcy and a 
pure worship of Yahweh (Is. I21-26). Even if he had 
no elaborate eschatology, he was the prophet of faith 
in a new and deeper sense (Tg, 3O15) ; he gave spiritu- 
ality as well as splendour to his picture of Yahweh, 
the supreme King, whose glory fills the whole earth. 

The Deuteronomic Movement. — It is difficult to 
trace precisely the immediate effect of Isaiah on the 
religious organisation, and to learn how far any real 
effort was made by Hezekiah for the centralisation 
and purification of worship. There seems to have been 
a fierce reaction, which placed the prophetic party 
in a perilous position, and the reign of Manasseh was 
a time of darkness for the disciples of a purer faith 
(2 K. 21). Through such times a great religious 
movement comes ^vith a nobler faith and more heroic 
courage. The Book of Deuteronomy is now accepted 
as in the main the product of this century-. It is a 
blending of prophetic teaching and purified priestly 
ritual. It has apparently three elements — the his- 
torical, the preaching, and the legal — but the whole 
book is pervaded by an earnest persuasive spirit. Its 
aim is to produce a community of " saints," a kingdom 
of God on earth, and sn at-ert the threalemd judgment. 
In a sense the book is dramatic ; its history, sermons, 
and laws are all placed in the mouth of the ancient 



90 



THE RELIOION OF ISRAEL 



prophet Moses. The narratives of Exodus are turned 
into direct speeches, and the Book of tlio Covenant is 
amplified and modified. In the herinons the great 
lines of thought are the onones-s of Yahweh the Clod 
of Israel, the view of history as a Divine discipline, 
and the danger of forgetting God in the hour of pros- 
perity. Such a book clearly stands in the middle of 
this history and not at its bcginnin'j; ; the history is 
reviewed and made matt«r for spiritual refiection, the 
earher documents are freely used and readapted. The 
demand for one central sanctuary now becomes in- 
telligible and possible. It can be shown by many 
detailed proofs that the teachin.; of the great prophets 
has left its mark on this wonderful book. With all 
the limitations involved and dangers incurred, it was 
inevitable that the prophetic teaching, if it was to 
leave any other effect than the testimony of the 
written page, must embody itself in reforms of Church 
ajid State. We have not yet solved the problem as 
to the parts that the two forces represented in Dt., 
preaching and legislation, must play in the creation 
of social goodness. There is no dogmatic solution, 
because circumstances and other factors involved are 
always changing in a living nation. While the relation 
of Jeremiah or any particular piophot to this movement 
is doubtful (op. 46. 474. 480), it is clear that this epoch- 
making book did represent, on the part of many, an 
honest effort to purify the ritual and to bring a higher 
humanitarian sentiment into the Law, and that it 
helped to strengthen the loftier monotheistic tendencies 
of the faith. To us one God moans that in any place 
we may woi-ship in a spiritual fashion, and that no 
city or sanctuary can have a monopoly of His special 
presence (Jn. 423). Yet we can concede that the aboli- 
tion of local sanctuaries and tlio concentration of the 
Jewish sacrificial worship in Jerusalem was a move- 
ment in the direction of universalism. It drew a 
clearer line between the sacred and secular, and had 
to grant powers to the local elders that could not 
possibly be limited to Jerusalem. It gave the book 
a more prominent position in religion, and laid new 
emphasis on the need of right teaching ; these elements, 
that then held a subordinate place were later seen to 
have a wider influence than any mere local reforms. 
What could or might have happened if the nation had 
survived to give the Deuteronomic influence a fuller 
trial, in the then existing circumstances, it is idle to 
speculate. In a certain sense this book saved the 
religion, and if there were many of its adherents who 
believed fanatically in the efficacy of the new law and 
the inviolability of the Temple, to that extent it helped 
to destroy the natioa 

Jeremiah. — The tragic death of the young king 
Josiah and the strife of parties produced an uncer- 
tainty of policy which could end only in national 
disaster. The prophet Jeremiah gave sober counsel 
and frequent warning as well as strong denunciation. 
He saw that the threatened judgment must come, but 
his plan of recognising stem facts and bowing before 
the great Babylonian power might have lessened the 
terrors of the situation and have avoided the final 
tragedy. But to do this required an act of faith — 
faith to see the hand of Yahwoh in the real events of 
history, of which neither the kings nor the people were 
capable. Jeremiah gave his faithful testimony during 
many years, and after the destruction of Jerusalem 
was dragged away to Egypt, where his end is veiled 
in darkness. He was a worthy successor of the great 
prophets, and did miich to gi\'e a deeper sense of indi- 
vidual life and a higher spirituaUty to religion. Though 
the book t hat bears his name is in a confused condition. 



and contains much material of various kinds that did 
not come from his hand, we can gain from it a vivid 
picture of the disorder of the times, of his outward 
tonflictfl and inward struggles. In his story v.e find 
more of personal " experience " in the sense in which 
we now use that word. He had the conviction that 
he was, as an individual, foreordained to a great task 
(Jer. I5), but that did not end the matter; ho was 
often subject to inward misgivings and wresthnga 
regarding his call and work. He makes complaints 
to his God and bewails his hard lot. He is gentle and 
sensitive, but cannot attain to the height of Christian 
resignation and calmness. But it was a terrible life, 
to be always on the strain, denouncing false prophets, 
exposing popiUar delusions, declaring unceasingly that 
the policy of the leaders must lead to inevitable doom. 
The great prophetic message, that has alreadv been 
discussed, he presented in his own way with bold 
imagery and gentle poetic beauty, which shows that 
he lived in communion with nature and in intimate 
sympathy with human life. His life, the stoiy of it, 
and his poems, must have exerted a great influence, 
though at the time it all seemed to be such a tragic 
failure. When the reaction came, and men could see 
his utter truthfulness and loyalty, this " man of 
sorrows and acquainted with grief " was seen to be 
one of the noblest of those saints to whom the true 
Israel owes so much. The part that he played in the 
growth of Israel's religion may be briefly summed up 
by saying that he deepened it, and maxie it more a 
matter of personal life and individual experience. He 
was a forerunner of the great poet who wrote the 
speeches of Job in that we see in him a man conscious 
of his own personality over against the personaUty of 
God. He comes to the very throne of God, not simply 
with humble cries for help, but also with demands for 
reason, justification, and defence. The fanatical 
dogma of the inviolability of the Temple he could not 
accept, but he could, we beheve, look forward to a 
time when a new covenant would be written upon the 
hearts of beheving men (3I31, Heb. 8 8). The fulfil- 
ment of his predictions and the spirituality of his 
teaching helped to save the religion when the nation 
was lost. 

The Signiflcance of the Exile for Hebrew Religion. — 
When a number of Israehtes were deported to Assyria 
almost one hundred and fifty years earher, they were 
probably scattered over a wide area, and as they had 
not attained sufficient distinction of character they 
were ver\' largely " lost," so far as any living relation 
to this great movement was concerned. But the case 
of the Jews was different ; it was the better class of 
the people who were taken away. They had enjoyed 
during the past century the influence of many great 
teachers, and they seem to have been planted in colonies 
in Babylonia, where they could enjoy intercourse 
with each other and form some kind of religious or- 
ganisation (Jer. 24, 29). Thus, when these communities 
came to face the question, " How can we sing Yahweh's 
song in a foreign land ? " (Pa. 137). they had some real 
equipment with which to solve the problem. Exile 
could not mean to them — that is, to those who in any 
degree preserved their faith — a decree to go and serve 
foreign gods. Some, no doubt, did yield to this temp- 
tation both at home and abroad, for any great crisis 
means loss to those whose faith is not deejily rooted. 
But the hour of bereavement and silence Ls for the men 
of faith the hour of thought ; they reflect upon tho 
content of tho old song, and it reveals its deeper 
meaning. Not only did circumcision and the Sabbath 
as ordinances of distinction from other peoples gain 



I 



THE RELIGION OF ISRAEL 



91 



more prominence, but also within the hedge thus formed 
there was real intellectual life, bringing a consciousness 
that they possessed something which was of more 
than national significance, and their vision of the real 
sacrifice as the contrite heart and not the mere material 
olioriug. It was a time of heart-soarchmg, and many 
were led to recognise that the verdict of history had 
confirmed the message of the earlier prophets (Zech. 
l6). The situation was complex and many-sided. 
Some may have even desired to build a temple in 
Babylonia, others may have thought that the religion 
could live without a temple. The leaders were thrown 
back upon the earlier literature, " the book " became 
more important, and in that there was the germ of 
later Rabbin ism ; the need for study and teaching was 
felt, and this was destined to create schools that would 
mean more to Judaism and the world than any temple. 
" The Law " came to be something more minute and 
comprehensive, but, as we may see from the later litera- 
ture, it could not confine the fidness and variety of 
hfe or crush the universal tendencies inherent in the 
prophetic faith. Out of the ruins of a nation there 
came a Church, but that Jewish Church inherits the 
[ rich revelation and noble influence of the Hebrew 
; rehgion. To speak of it as " a sect " is not fair ; the 
[ life is too varied and cathohc to be summed up in that 
reproachful word ; it contained all the elements of 
t the " high," " low," and " broad " sections. It is 
true that we sometimes find these elements at war 
with each other, but we have received the rich result 
of the whole movement. 

Ezekiel works in the midst of the exiles ; he declares 
that the destruction of Jerusalem must be completed, 
and when that prediction is fulfilled he sets himself 
to face the problems of the future. He is a striking 
figure, a prophet judging the history of his people by 
absolute standards, a visionary with strange ecstatic 
experiences, a poet with great descriptive power, a 
pastor realising the dreadful responsibility of his office, 
a i^riest seeking to build up a holy nation. He 
has been called " the father of Judaism," and " the 
creator of eschatology ; " and if those terms are taken 
with the necessary qualifications they may stand, 
since he sketches a constitution for the restored com- 
, munity in Palestine, and makes a rich eschatological 
contribution. In this man of priestly family varied 
) elements exist side by side without being fused into 
a consistent system. He has affinities with Jeremiah, 
but his type of mind and conception of the Church are 
different. He is a High Churchman, not lacking in 
evangelical qualities. Some truths, such as personal 
responsibility, he presents in a way that we are tempted 
to call mechanical — that ia, in a hard, abstract manner, 
out of all Uving relation to the complementary truth 
of heredity. There was, after all, some truth in the 
statement that " the fathers had eaten sour grapes and 
the children's teeth were set on edge." However, 
while his weight falls heavily on the side of the priestly 
view, he did important work as a preacher of judgment 
and a prophet of faith. He believed that, at the 
Divine command, the dead bones of a ruined nation 
could rise up as a mighty army before God, and that 
the heart of stone could, by a miracle of grace, be 
t umed into a heart of flesh. 

The Theology of Deutero-Isaiah. — At this stage it 
is necessary to recognise the significance of the great 
message contained in Is. 40-55. Though different in 
its spirit and style, it takes rank with the other great 
prophetic sections. We do not know tiui name of the 
author, and we cannot say with any cortamty where 
ho lived. On account of its historical background. 



theology, and language and style this book cannot be 
earher than the time of the Babylonian Exile, and the 
attempts to place it later are not convincing. The 
writer is evidently not a public leader, pastor, or 
prophet in the same sense as Isaiah, Jeremiah, and 
EzekieL He is not facing particular concrete situa- 
tions in the same way ; ho is a poet brooding over the 
great national disaster, and seeking to impart to 
others the message of comfort and hope which heavenly 
voices have brought to his soul. Pre-exflic prophecy 
had been mainly a word of warning and threatening ; 
in Ezekiel promise follows denunciation. Deutero- 
Isaiah brings a message of pure comfort, and to that 
extent strikes a new note in prophecy. "What we have 
here (Is. 40-55) is a coUection of poems whose origin 
may extend over a number of years, yet we are justi- 
fied in speaking of it as " The Book of Consolation," 
seeing that there is sufficient unity of subject and 
spirit in these poems concerning Zion the Bride of 
Yahweh, and Israel the Servant of Yahweh, to bind 
the various elements together, if not to prove the 
genuineness of every passage. Even if we should 
have to admit the separate origin and the later date 
of the great Servant passages (40i-4, 49i-6, 5I4-9, 
5213-53 12), it is sufficient for this general review for 
us to note that the Servant idea, in its national sense, 
receives here a very high form of expression. The 
writer brings a great message of redemption, so that 
he has been rightly caUed " the evangelist of the OT." 
The tone is tender throughout ; even his denunciations 
of enemies and his polemic against idol- worshippers 
are free from the coarse, bitter invective that is gener- 
ated by actual strife ; underlying all his utterances is 
a strong conviction that the word of Yahweh is ab- 
solutely rehable. Empires may faU and perish, but 
it remains ; it is a great world-force, which, like the 
powers of nature, must do its work (403, 55 10). To a 
nation whose members are scattered and whose 
sanctuary lies in ruins he addresses the word of con- 
solation (4O27). But he does this not with some fight, 
soothing song, but with a magnificent conception of 
God and a massive theology. The behef that Yahweh 
is the God of nature, history, and redemption receives 
here a fuller exposition and more brilliant expression. 
These are not dead forms or abstract categories, the 
whole presentation thrills with hfe. God's manifesta- 
tion of His power and wisdom in the actual events of 
creation and history is here not a finished work, but 
a present energy, fresh, plastic. An inspiring, hopeful 
word was sorely needed in this situation, hence the 
movement of the theology is from God to man. There 
is httle of the pastoral hortatory (the genuineness of 
557 is questioned) ; the promises aU rest on Yahweh's 
supreme power and sovereign grace. V.'hat could any 
man or organisation of men do for a nation in such a 
condition ? If its destinies are not cared for by Him 
who rules the universe there is no hope. The thought 
of election naturally plays a great part, on account of 
the nature of the theme and the character of the 
theology. In the earher days there was a choice of 
and a covenant with Israel by Yahweh, but it was not 
a doctrine of dectiov, for then the God and the people 
completely corresponded to each other, and, except 
as enemies to be conquered, other gods and other 
peoples did not come into the calculation ; but now 
election expresses the special relation which Israel 
holds to Yahweh, the supreme God before whom all 
nations and gods must bow. We cannot say that herb 
there is no element of particularism or tinge of 
favouritism left — that would be an exaggeration; 
but we can maintain that election becomes ia this 



92 



THE RELIGION OF ISRAEL 



great message, more than over before, election to 
service and not merely to privilege. There is an 
eschatology hero : the wonderful deliverance and the 
miraculous journey across the desert are to load to a 
new and glorious kingdom in Jerusalem ; but a 
Gentile king is to be Yahweh's instrument, a Messiah 
in the secular sphere ; the ends of the earth are in- 
vited to look unto Yahweh for salvation ; the Servant 
haa a mission to the outside world, and there is no 

frim picture of the ruthless slaughter of the heathen, 
n fact, in this section the OT rises to its loftiest height. 
After the grrat prophets and t!io Deuteronomic reform 
there has arisen a poet who can see what is implied 
in the earlier teaching, and with clear intelligence and 
enthusiastic faith can sing a new song to Yahweh and 
declare His praise unto the ends of the earth (42io). 
Particularly is this true of the idea of vicarious sacri- 
fice presented in ch. 53 ; if this conies from Deutero- 
Isaiah, it refers to Israel's suffering as a preparation 
and qualification for world-service. That individual 
men should suffer with and for others was no new idea ; 
it was held in coimexion with the primitive conception 
of the solidarity of the tribe ; but hero it reaches a 
higher plane of rehgious faith. The writer confronts 
the popular view in regard to an afflicted man and a 
defeated nation and rejects it : " Wo did esteem him 
stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was 
wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for 
our iniquities ; the chastisement of our peace was 
upon him ; and with his stripes we are healed " (c/. 
the great conflict in the Book of Job). The strength of 
faith and the purity of thought here revealed are not 
affected by the question whether the speakers are the 
heathen recognising the meaning of Israel's affliction, 
or the Jewish community giving a sacrificial and 
Messianic meaning to the life of one of its saints and 
martyrs. The endowment of " the spirit of Yahweh " 
resting on the true teacher, giving insight, calmness, 
and courage, is another feature that shows an advance 
upon the early conception, which tended to find the 
Divine most fully in the abnormal, fitful, or ecstatic 
condition (4:21-4). 

Post- Exilic Judaism. — There are many historical 
problems connected with the origin and constitution 
of the later Jewish Church which we cannot discuss, 
but we must attempt merely a brief summary of the 
theological situation. It is clear that, if the historical 
continuity was not to be broken, many of the exiles 
must return and the Temple be rebuilt. The centre 
at Jerusalem was a rallying- point for the scattered 
Jews as well as for the perpetuation of Judaism itself. 
The Judaean community was small and of little political 
significance ; it was under the guardianship and control 
of Persian rulers ; this favoured the concentration of 
its energies on ecclesiastical and theological problems. 
The work of restoring the walls and building the .omple 
had to be carried on during many years with feeble 
resources and many external liindrances. Prophecy 
had to continue its work of comforting the people 
(Zech. 113,17); the preachers found themselves com- 
pelled to take an interest in church-building and in 
ritual. In Haggai, Malachi, and Is. 56-66 we have no 
longer the sustained denunciations of the earlier 

firophets, nor the pure message of comfort of Doutero- 
saiah, but a form of preaching more like our own, 
when denunciation, warning, reasoning, exhortation, 
persuasion, and promise are all mingled in one ai)peal. 
In such a book as Malaclii there is an approach to an 
" academic " style of teaching. We know also, from 
the accounts given of the work of Ezra and Nehemiah, 
that the Jewish community was not established on the 



basis of a stricter law and cleansed from what were 
regarded as impure elements without fierce struggles. 
The regulations against mixed marriages and in favour 
of strict Sabbath observance met with strong opposi- 
tion. The rejection of all communion with the 
Samaritans, and the contempt of some " sons of exile " 
for " the people of the land," were also causes of heart- 
burning and strife. When we seek to treat the situa- 
tion sympathetically and in the true historical spirit, 
we recognise that a certain amount of " intolerance " 
was inevitable ; but we rejoice that the view of post- 
exilic Uterature, which we are now compelled to take, 
does not allow us to regard Judaism as a company of 
ignorant fanatics and bloodthirsty zealots. Jeru- 
salem could not bo sealed from all external influences. 
Her children, now beginning to be scattered through- 
out the world, kept her in touch with the higher life 
of the world. While the national point of view must 
still dominate, certain sides of the religion began to 
assume a more universal character. Even the Temple 
sacrifices and the priestlv ritual, a region in which there 
is most danger of formalism, came to express a deeper 
sense of sin, of penitence, and national obligation. 
Ecclesiastical reformations had gained something in 
the way of purity and dignity ; the ritualism of the 
later Temple was in its best days free from the sensu- 
ahty and disorder of the earlier festivals. 

It is possible for us to indicato special features of 
the later period and different times of development, 
but again we must remember that these do not exist 
in abstract separation, but may be found in various 
combinations in the men of action and leaders of 
thought. It is a period of slow organisation, patient, 
painful scholarship, and keen reflection. The codifica- 
tion of ritual laws, the increase of scribal activity with 
growing dominance of written authority, the deepening 
sense of religious pecuUarity and isolation — all these 
influences tend to check personal initiative and pro- 
phetic enthusiasm. Of course, in a hving community 
where intelligence has been so highly developed and 
concentrated on religious subjects, nothing can com- 
pletely crush criticisTU, as may be seen from such 
books as Job and Ecclesiastes, which examine and 
partly reject orthodox beliefs, or the books of Jonah 
and Ruth, which must now be regarded as a protest 
against the militant forms of exclusiveness. On the 
whole, while the period is full of varied life, and we are 
still distant from the wild, unrestrained extravagance 
of later apocalypse and the deadness of stagnant 
scholasticism, it is a time of reflection and reaction 
rather than of original creation. But the living move- 
ment had not ceased ; the difficulties from without 
and controversies within, along with the varied efforts 
to appreciate and appropriate the great heritage from 
the past, prevented any real stagnation. That could 
come only when the written text had been finally 
fixed and the dogmas of the various schools clearly 
defined. In the meantime the hving movement goes 
on, acquiring complexity and variety, without losing 
its central principle of faith in Yahweh as the source 
of all life and the giver of all blessings to His oton 
people. This needs emphasis : the religion of Israel 
never really ceased to bo national ; while Yahweh came 
to be regarded as God of the world, and hence all 
nations wore under His control and care, yet their 
destiny was fixed by their relation to Israel. Indi- 
viduals might be converted and come into the true 
fold, nations might receive blessings on account of 
friendship to Israel, or bo destroyed in the great day 
of Israel's victory. Thus the great blessings, if thoy 
were to come to the nations, must oome through 



THE RELIGION OF ISRAEL 



93 



Israel. Wlien this is stripped of all sectarian prido 
and party passion, it is astonishing how much truth 
there is in it ; in other words, how much real missionary 
influence was exerted by a system that is supposed 
to be hard and exclusive. God flung the Jews out 
into the world, when they -were fit to stand alone, to 
give and receive influence in the great centres of 
civilisation. The contents of the Jewish literature 
and the meaning of Jewish life were larger and richer 
than the formal creed. The prophetic principles were 
felt to bo a gift of God which could not be monopolised 
by one nation. The Servant carries these princijilos 
to the expectant nations (Is. 424) ; the nations flow 
towards Jerusalem, because there true teaching and 
righteous judgments are given (Is. 21-4) ; the great 
festival in the final days, when the burdens of a sorrow- 
ful world are to be removed, will be " in this moun- 
tain," but it will be a feast for " all nations " (Is. 
266-8). The paradox can be understood only when 
we remember that a stream of life is more than insti- 
tutions and creeds that seek to give it outward ex- 
pression, and that a great truth will, because of its 
greatness, show its broad human significance and its 
universal tendency. 

Alongside of the Temple, which held a central place 
in the life of the people as a place of worship and 
a shrine for pilgrims (Pss. 122, 84), there was private 
personal piety, in which prayers became more promi- 
nent as an expression of spiritual life and a means of 
communion with God (Ps. 44), and there was also 
a fuller development of scholastic and educational 
work (Pr. 18). The Book of Proverbs is a monument 
of Hebrew wisdom compiled and completed in this 
period, though it may contain brief oracles and popular 
sayings from earlier days. Naturally, on account of 
its subject, which deals with the need for discipline 
of thought and regulation of conduct, it is unsectarian, 
or, in other words, its contents are, on the whole, 
more ethical than theological. Its aim is -to insist 
upon the need of knowledge and discipline, if a man 
is to avoid snares that are set on every hand and attain 
to real success in life. Reverence towards parents, 
obedience as the first lesson in life, the cultivation of 
self-control — these are in a general way the forms in 
which " the fear of Yahweh " or religion should express 
itself, and this is the beginning and foundation of 
wisdom. Except the longer passages, containing 
personifications of Wisdom and Folly, this book of 
practical philosophy consists mainly of short similes 
or t«rse antithetic proverbs, which express contempt 
for " the fool," the man given to babbling, to greed, 
self-indulgence, or excess of any kind, and praise of 
" the wise man," the man who has learned to take care 
of himself, to control his temper, rule his household, 
and manage his business. There may not appear to 
be much idealism, sentiment, or romance about this 
" philosophy," but it rests upon a pretty solid basis 
of " common sense," and claims the whole range of 
common life as a sphere for the manifestation of " the 
fear of Yahweh." This is the hard, prosaic side of 
life, but it deals with matters that are common to 
mankind, and the inclusion of morals, manners, and 
etiquette in one comprehensive survoj' of life suggests 
the all-embracing character of the claims of religion. 

For the rich variety of theological truth and religiotis 
sentiment which constituted the most precious pos- 
session of that age we must turn to the Psalter. 
It has been called the Hymn-book of the Second 
Temple, but it is more than that ; it is also a prayer- 
book of confessions, meditations, and thanksgiving, 
which reflects the richest experiences of the individual 



as well as the varied worship of the community. For 
our present purpose those portions that are strictly 
hturgical are of least importance, but even in them the 
largo claim of the religion is manifest (117, 149, 150). 
The Book of Psalms may be called secondary literature 
in this sense, that it shows us how all the lines of thought 
worked out in earlier days are appropriated and turned 
into prayer and song. An, important proof this, 
that the great messages of the prophets have not been 
merely the property of a few great thinkers or special 
scholars, they have entered into the life of the com- 
munity. The expression of these truths in the Psalter 
popularised them still more, and we need only remember 
the frequent reference to it in the NT to find confirma- 
tion of the belief that here we have &, real document 
reflecting the higher life of the post-exilic Jewish com- 
munity. It has been said that in prophecy God speaks 
to man, while in the Psalms man speaks to God ; or, 
as we may put it, the truths revealed in the past 
show that they have left the realm of speculation and 
have entered into the sphere of public worship and 
personal devotion. In reading these Psalms, apart 
from particular sharp expressions (ISTg) which shock 
us, we naturally lift them into a Christian atmosphere, 
and ignore the local circumstances and party conflicts 
out of which they arose, and which, thanks to our 
ignorance and the mellowing influence of time, have 
now become so dim. Thus the book remains a prayer- 
book of humanity and one of Israel's greatest gifts 
to men. No complete analysis can be given, but it 
is important to recognise the fact that the great truths 
which we have seen growing in the past have become 
a possession to be used in public worship and private 
prayer. When we are engaged in a study of history, 
however, it is well for us to remember that what we 
have here is not merely selected poems from a few 
choice spirits, but a precipitate from the feverish 
struggles of a time that has not wisely been called 
" four centuries of silence." True, God is also in the 
silence, but we have to flnd Him in the confusion of 
opinions and the fierce strife of parties. 

In the Psalms Yahweh is Lord of the world, supreme 
ruler over aU kings and gods (SSs-io) ; He is the 
creator and guide of His people (100) ; the worship of 
idols is an absurd thing, only fit subject for con- 
temptuous ridicule (115; note 17 of this Psalm, 
that the triumphant faith is still confined to this 
world). The faith in Yahweh is thus firmly estab- 
lished in the realm of nature (8, 19, 29, 104, etc.), in 
history (78, 80, 135), in human conduct, regulated 
now by a written law (1, 19, 119). He is the ruler 
of the world, and though He is slow to anger and 
plenteous in mercy. He will surely punish the wicked, 
whether they are heathen oppressors outside or 
arrogant apostates witliin the nation (97, 37). One of 
the noblest expressions of this later theology regarding 
the greatness and extent of Yahweh's power is Ps. 139, 
and even here we have a flaming hatred of " the 
enemies of Yahweh." The so-called "penitential 
Psalms," and others of similar tone (32, 51, etc.), 
show a deep sense of personal sinfulness, deepened by 
the burden of sickness or other afilictions. Here the 
theory of sorrow as the result of sin is working in a 
wholesome way of self-application begetting penitence. 
In other poems (73, etc.) this theory is faced as a problem 
from the point of view of its application to life, in the 
spirit of the struggles of Job. We may say, then, that 
all possible religious beliefs and moods of that time 
find expression here. They caimot be harmonised 
into one system ; they express a many-sided life. 
Running through all there is the conviction that the 



94 



THE RELIGION OF ISRAEL 



Israelites are a peculiar people, who have inhorited a 
noble tradition and who stand in a special relationship 
to tlio God of the world. This God is to 1)0 woi-shippcd 
and lionoinx d in the services of tiie Temple and liy the 
diligent student of His Law. Ho is a righteous God, 
not only in the sense that Ho regards moral distinc- 
tions, but also that He will keep His covenant and 
defend His people, thus causing righteousness to 
be vindicated on the stage of the world's history. 
" Pious," " poor," " meek " are beginning, in some 
places, to moan almost the same thing, and the hope 
is cherished that the " meek shall inherit the earth " 
when the judgment comes which will overthrow the 
arrogant, faitldess Jews as well aa the proud heathen 
oppressors. The Messianic hope finds clear if not 
frequent expression, and probably many phrases that 
have for us lost their eschato logical flavour originally 
possessed it. There is not much movement in the 
direction of the belief in personal immortahty ; we 
may find a suggestion of it in 73, but oven this is not 
generally accepted. We must say that in the actual 
period of Hebrew religion the hopes concerning the 
future continued to have a national point of view 
which was not largely displaced by the more personal 
hope. The continuance in life or the resurrection of 
the individual was a belief held in connexion with 
the hopes of a final and complete redemption of the 
nation, under the reign of the Messianic King (72). 
Thus, beginning at a point about a thousand yeai-s 
earlier than the present period, we found a few tribes 
with loose organisation and a simple faith in Yahweh 
as their God. We have seen the building up out of 
this material into two kingdoms, which after a brief 
fitful existence were destroyed, to be replaced by a 
Church community in Judaea with an elaborate ecclesi- 
astical organisation and a large body of theological 
beliefs. The thing that grew through all the political 
and civil changes of a millennium was the religious 
faith and theological thought. The earlier revelations 
were received in and through the actual poHtical 
conflicts of the time ; in later days theology became 
for a while the chief business of the nation. 

The Significance of the Maceabean Period. — This 
small nation was called to fight for its existence and 
its faith in the early years of the second century B.C., 
and the result showed that a positive dogmatic faith 
had power to inspire heroic zeal and lead " the 
saints " to victory. In the preceding century the 
Jews in the Greek colony of Alexandria in Egypt had 
grown in numbers and influence. The translation of 
the Law into Greek helped to keep the dispersed 
Israelites faithful to Judaism, while the commerce and 
communion of the scattered Jews with Jerusalem 
helped to keep ahve the intellectual life of the home- 
land. Greek influence of a direct kind may not be 
proved in the ca«e of the Books of Job and Ecclesiastes, 
but it is clear that the Jews have oome to have some- 
thing of the Greek spirit in their method and stylo of 
dealing with weighty problems. Their contribution is 
theology, not philasophy, aa they seek to work always 
from the thought of God out to the details of thought 
and life. They do not analyse things and the mind 
in the same way as the Greeks, but in their own way 
they are seeking to link all things to a central principle, 
and they arc becoming mon; critical in temper. The 
writer of Job attacks the eoninion dogma of sin and 
retribution which pervaded all the theology of his 
time. The prophetic message had been taken so miich 
to heart that the thought of "sin ' had become the 
central thing in Jewish theology. The belief in a 
reasonable retribution, ethical in its character, was an 



advance on the idea of capricious, arbitrary action of 
go<l8 or demons, but "it became too systematic, or, in 
other words, too simple. Men in many ages have made 
largo sacrifices to a nanow, severe logic and a vain 
craving for uniformity in religious thought and prac- 
tice. Against this the great poet protests ; more than 
any particular solution of the problem suggested by 
the various statements in the Book of Job is the spirit 
of the great speeches and the demand for full expression 
of the soul even in the presence of God. " Sin " is 
not everything, man is not the centre of the world ; the 
mighty Creator is just, though His ways may perplex 
us. Man may come to silence in the presence of 
God's majesty, but he must not bo crushed by a 
wooden, mechanical system in which men attempt to 
confine their thoughts of God. This is not scepticism, 
it is simply a more robust faith. The writer of 
Ecclesiastes goes much further in the direction of 
scepticism, and the ground tone of the book is pessi- 
mistic. He Ls a man who cannot find escape from 
perplexity and disappointment along either of the two 
avenues that have been opened ; he deliberately 
rejects the thought of personal immortahty and pays 
no attention to the national hopes. Not in such a 
temper as this could the great battles have been fought. 
We arc now simply concerned to show that in the period 
immediately preceding the Maceabean revolt there was 
much reflection on religious problems, and that in 
some cases faith was " sicklied o'er with the pale cast 
of thought." When the nation passed from the mlo 
of the Ptolemies to that of Sjiua, little dreaming of 
the terrible trouble to come from that quarter, Greek 
culture must have already exerted a powerful if subtle 
influence on its religious life. Some think that " the 
Greek peril " woidd have been still greater if it had 
been allowed to pursue its peaceful way. When 
Antiochus Epiphanes attempted brutally to crush 
Judaism and substitute his bastard Hellenism, two 
things were revealed — the extent to which Greek 
influence had already gone, and the terrible strength 
and tenacity of those who adhered to the Law. Men 
died rather than break the Sabbath or pollute them- 
selves with unclean food ; the nation might be cast 
into the lion's den or the fiery furnace, but it would 
not worship the idols that this mad king had set up (see 
the Book of Daniel). The standard of revolt was raised, 
and the first battles for religious freedom were fought. 
The stoiy must be read elsewhere (pp. (Wi.), but its 
religious significance must be noted here. The real 
strength and heroism was inspired by passionate love 
for the Scriptures and scrupulous respect for the Law, 
When the latent military strength had been revealed, 
and liberty of worship secured, the pious party, the 
Chaaidim, forerunners of the later Pharisees, were 
ready to return to the peaceful pursuit of religion. 
They were willing to accept a high priest of the legiti- 
mate line, notwithstanding his alliance with the Greek 
party and the Syrian kingdom. Again thev had to 
suffer for their blind literalism, but clung to tlieir ideal 
of an unworldly kingdom of Yahweh. The movement 
inevitably enlarged itself into a struggle for complete 
political independence, and under the Maecabean 
family Judah enjoyed a brief period of military suoceas 
and national splendour. The political power and 
official influence thus pas.sed into the han<lr* of the 
priests and their adherenta. who later were -the Saddu- 
cees of NT times. They were Jews, biit were less scru- 
pulous in their religious conduct, and had little zeal for 
the doctrine of the resurrection and the Messianic 
kingdom. The stricter believers, who gave their 
energy to the study of theology, to the elaboration 



THE RELIGION OF ISRAEL 



95 



and observance of the written Law and preparation 
for the coming Kingdom of God, wore regarded by the 
people as the custodians of the best religious tradi- 
tions, and had a powerful influence on the life of the 
State. Thus it may bo seen that, when the noblest 
theology had been developed, touched with something 
I of the prophetic spirit, making universal claims, and 
i even offering something of its best life to other nations, 
j there was manifested the fanatical, fierce hatred 
' against the foreigner that may be seen in the books of 
Esther and Judith. The Wisdom of Jesus the Son of 
Sirach belongs to a different school, and shows the 
essential Jewish thought in a more sober, " moderate " 
mood. The Judaism, then, that we find in the two 
centuries immediately preceding the coming of our 
Lord was anything but a simple sect ; it was, as the 
product of many ages and varied influences, exceedingly 
complex, and not completely dominated by any one 
shade of thought. Some were content with a Judaism 
that could be adapted to present conditions ; others 
were waiting and working for " the consolation of 
Israel," believing that Yahweh would bring it in His 
own time ; others were in a fever of discontent, pre- 
pared to fight for the new kingdom. 

What we have been able to give in this short article 
is a slight sketch, a mere outline ; it needs to be filled 
in by a study of the history in detail and the many- 
aided Uterature. But surely there is before us the fact 
of a hving movement, an organic development. We 
have had to recognise a real relation between the re- 
hgion and the soil on which it came to maturity. The 
luxuriant growth of the later apocalyptic literatuie 
also shows that, when the creative impulse ceased, 
there was much extravagant mechanical borrowing 
that produced a chaotic mass of undigested material. 
But the real religion, whose course we have been 
studying, appropriated facts and ideas from other 
sources in such a way as to subject them to its own 
central principles. Wonders credited by tradition to 
Babylonian gods or Palestinian Baals it could claim 
for Yahweh, and thus work out a practical, and to a 
large extent a theoretical, monotheism, which, though 
never quite freed from national associations, prepared 
the way for the Christian doctrine of God, who is 
Spirit, and who in His Son manifests love to the whole 
world. The real antithesis between the OT and the 
NT is not that of Law in contrast to Gospel. The 
apostle Paul saw that Law, in the strict sense, cam.e in 
as a preparation for a fuller manifestation of the faith 
that had inspired the lives of ancient saints (Gal. 
3i8f.). It is that the NT, while preserving the idea 
of a Kingdom of God, was less national and brought 
a richer personal experience. But in all the important 
stages of OT theology there were real " evangehcal " 
elements. 

The healthy growth may bo seen in all the great 
ideas of OT theology. In dealing with the idea of 
God it is no longer advisable merely to choose texts 
at random from the wliole area of the hterature. We 
must recognise that the presentation given in Deutero- 
Isaiah or Ps. 139 could not have appeared in that form 
in the earher phases of the movement, and that the 
first chapter of Genesis, though based upon earlier 
material, offers a transcendent view of Gcd that belongs 
nearer to the close than the beginning of the revelation. 
We know that, while the Hebrews must have possessed 
a certain amount of the speculative gift that was de- 
veloped so highly in the Greeks, the real motive of the 
progress is to be sought in the personal spiritual life 
of their great teachers. The proof that their thought 
of God was living ia in the fact that it could grow to 



meet new needs. Wo use the name " Yahweh " instead 
of the conventional name " Lord," because it is a more 
correct rendering of the original, and reminds us that 
we are dealing with the name of a personal national 
God. " Lord " has become colourless, so far as 
national associations are concerned ; if it means any- 
thing to us, it must mean the Ruler of the whole uni- 
verse, the source of all law and life. To use this title 
in OT passages may lead us to forget the centuries 
of toil, prayer, and thought by which the way was 
prepared for our lofty and somewhat abstract concep- 
tion. In OT times Yaliweh ever remained the God 
of Israel, and men had to leam to recognise Him as 
the God of righteousness, of history, and of the par- 
ticular manifestations and products of nature before 
they could claim for Him, in the fullest sense, the 
supreme position as God of the whole earth. Hence, 
while angels and spirits appear in the earlier hterature, 
it hi in an unsystematic fashion ; Yahweh is not 
only supreme within His kingdom, but His action ia 
direct, immediate (c/. the Yahweh- Elohim of Gen. 2f. 
with the Elohim of 1, also the two different statements 
regarding the same events in 2 S. 24i and 1 Ch. 21 1). 
We do not attempt to smooth all these differences 
that give individuality to the different accounts, but 
rather rejoice in the sense of historical perspective 
that they help us to acquire. The gods of other 
nations are at one time rival deities belonging to rival 
tribes ; later they become " idols," and even the great 
heavenly bodies worshipped by the Babylonians are 
claimed as creatures of Yahweh (Is. 4O26). These 
finally become mere lamps for the service of man, and 
specially to regulate his religious festivals (Gen. 1). 
The idols then become simple images, things that 
man has made and to which it is foolish to attach any 
Divine significance. The " gods " have passed away 
from them and become " angels " or " demons," to 
whom Yahweh allows a limited sphere of service. 
This is different from the hard monotheism of Moham- 
medanism, which is more suitable to the bareness of 
the desert than a rich, complex social life. We can 
never go back to Moses or back to Christ in any 
narrow, mechanical way, because from the OT as well 
as from the NT we have inherited a religion which 
claims the right to grow and to baptize new things, 
when they have proved their reality, with the old 
sacred name. 

Such development can also be recognised in con- 
nexion with an idea that must be central in any living 
conception of true religion, that of sacrifice. Whether 
the original idea was that of a gift to the God to win 
His favour, or of communion through a common 
meal shared by the worshippers and the deity, we must 
not attempt to settle ; it is possible that botli thoughts 
might become blended in the one transaction. Traces 
of these views in their more primitive form may still 
be found (Gen. 4i4, 821 ; Ex. 21 10). It is certain 
that the popular view in the eighth century was that 
sacrifice was a means of gaining Yahweh 's favour and 
so making worshippers secure against their foes. The 
prophets set in opposition to this the demand for an 
intelligent obedience to Yahweh's righteous claims. 
Ho desires " mercj- and not sacrifice." " Obedience 
is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat 
of rams." Yet the idea of sacrifice permeates all 
fife ; the captive in war and the criminal offender are 
slain in some sense as a sacrifice. The higher pro- 
phetic teaching turns away from tlie coarse ritual to 
the ordinary activities of Ufe, which bring opportunities 
of real service. It was not directly concerned with 
theories as to which was the most effective form of 



THE RELIGION OF ISRAEL 



material sacrifice. It waa probably in the Exile, 
where men learned to keep .ilive a real reUgious life 
without material sacrifices, that they learned to think 
of pcnitenc-e and obedience as the true sacrifice. There 
ia a difference in the statement that obedience is helter 
than sacrifice and that obedience is sacrifice (Ps. 406 ; 
c/. the use made of this pa.ssago by the writer of the 
Epistle to the Hebrews (IO5), when he puts the words 
into the mouth of Clirist and tells us that He abolishe.s 
the first and lower that He may establish the second 
and higher form of sacrifice, viz. that of the will). 
In the fatcr ritual sacrifice was used for the expression 
of penitence and the taking away of sin, so it was not 
out of all relation to prophetic teaching. But even 
then the meaning depended upon the intelligence of 
the worshippers : some treated it as symbolic, and 
some were inclined to reject it. In any case confined 
to one central sanctuar}% it left a large place to be 
filled by the more intellectual exercises of prayer, 
praise, and the reading of The Book. 

The statement already made concerning the national 
character of Hebrew religion explains to some extent 
the fact that the doctrine of personal immortality 
does not gain a large place. The old view of the uuder- 
worid was there as a background for popular beliefs 
and superstitions, and other Oriental religious made 
much of the influence of ghosts and spirits. But these 
thmgs have not left a strong mark on OT teaching, 
which was concerned more with the pursuit of godliness 
here, and the building up of a community that would 
embotly in its life the demands of Israel's God. In 
later days, outside influences might help in this direc- 
tion, especially when the sense of communion with 
God had become personal and spiritual to the extent 
that is expressed in Job and Ps. 73. Reasoning that 
the martvrs who had lost their lives for the faith 
could not, because of Yahweh's faithfulness, lose their 
share in the new kingdom, might suggest at least a 
partial resurrection (Dan. 122, Is. 2619 ; the earlier 
passage, Ezck. 37, most probably refers to the restora- 
tion of the nation). In the OT, then, the doctrine of 
personal immortality is rather the glimmering of a 
new hope than a prominent and flxed element of faith. 

We caimot regard the recent attempt to carry back 
the eschatological teaching to the early times as suc- 
cessful. The natural basis of such teaching lies, of 
course, in the hope that springs eternal in the human 
breast. As to its imagery, we must remember that 
we have no colours with which to paint the future 
except those drawn from the past. The golden ago 
of the past reappears with new gloiy in the final re- 
demption which ushers in the eternal kingdom and 
marks the completion of Yahweh's purpose for His 
people. This consummation seemed to bo near at 
hand to those prophets who had a message of forgive- 
ness and hope. These general considerations, true in 
themselves, do not lead to the conclusion that there 
was a fully-developed eschatology in the earliest times. 
The Israelites had to build up their own nation and 
learn to review their past history as a discipline of 
Yahweh; they had to come face to face with a large 
world and consider their relationship to it, before 
they could work out elaborate schemes of future de- 
velopment and definite programmes of the final davs. 
These subjects were not in the centre of the early 
prophetic teaching, though they rest upon the pro- 
phetic doctrine of a severe judgment and the salva- 
tion of the faithful. The primary prophetic message 
is one of judgment on Israel ; the essential feature of 
" eschatology " in the strict sense is judgment on the 
heathen and the exaltation of the Jews. There are 



various conceptions of the place of " the heathen " in 
this sclieme of things. It is quite clear that this way of 
regarding the future must have received a strong 
impulse from the ministry of Ezekiel. If the Jews 
were to lie restored to their own land and hold per- 
manenth' the central place in the world that his pro- 
gramme' assigns to them, Yahweh must control the 
foreign nations, and either destroy them or cause them 
to acknowledge His supremacy and holiness. An 
important passage such as Is. 22-4, Mi. 4 1-4, belongs 
to a different, though as to time a parallel, strain of 
thought, and Is related to the spirit of Deutero- Isaiah, 
The earl}' post-exilic prophets, Haggai and Zechariah, 
look fonvard with pathetic longing to a speedy con- 
vulsion, to be followed by a reign of peace and pros- 
perity for Jerusalem (Hag. 2, Zech. 2). In a loose 
fashion all passages are called " Messianic " that 
promise and describe this time of blessedness, when 
" the meek shall inherit the earth " ; but in the 
strictest sense only such passages should bear that 
name wliich set forth the ideal King as a mediator 
between Yahweh and His people. The discussion of 
this branch of the subject is comphcated by the dif- 
ference of opinion among scholars as to the collective 
or individual interpretation of " the Servant pas- 
sages " in Deutero- Isaiah and the phrase " Son of 
Man " in Daniel. It is difficult, with our views on 
the date of the documents, to prove that a definite 
behef in a personal Messiah existed before the Exile. 
In Ezekiel's priestly system a prince or new David 
is mentioned, but could not have a leading role. But 
when men of faith brooded over the sorrows and 
failures of the nation, they could not beheve that the 
promises given to Judah and David had received their 
final fulfilment, and they looked forward to a more real 
fulfilment of Yahweh's ancient promises. Some might 
beheve in a fixed time, which man's work could neither 
hasten nor hinder ; others might regard patient study 
of the Law or miUtant enterprise as the real prepara- 
tion. In one sense there waa pessimism, despair of 
the present order of things ; in another sense there 
was faith in an overruling Providence and the rich 
possibilities of the future. The present ruler might 
be invested with Messianic attributes, or there might 
be expectation of a supernatural being coming with 
the great catastrophe. He might be a mighty warrior 
wreaking vengeance on the heathen, or appear as a 
prince of peace. The point for us now is that later 
Judaism, in spite of the variety of views and mingling 
of strange elements, stands at the close of our review 
in an attitude of expectation, and so remains true to 
the forward look which is the characteristic of genuine 
prophecy. 

What, then, was the result of this strange national 
career ? One quotation may be permitted from a 
carefully-written volume, recently pubUshed, which 
sums up in a few words the view that has substantially 
been adopted in this article. 

" Briefly revio%ving the ground that we have gone 
over, we may recall to mind that when the Israelites 
firet came into the light of liistory they were a group 
of nomad clans with a reUgion like that of other 
dwellers in the desert. Their God, Yahweh, was ap- 
parently the local divinity of Kadesh, who was made 
party to a coalition of the social groups in that region. 
The success of the coalition led to the invasion of 
Canaan and the gradual settlement of that country 
by the immigrants. In Canaan the God took on the 
features of an agricultural divinitj' receiving the first 
fruits and tithes of the soiL The attempt of Ahab to 
mtroduce the worship of the Phoenician Baal led to a 



THE RELIGION OF ISRAEL 



97 



reaction under the powerful personality of Elijah. 
The prophetic party thus beginning its career was 
promiitcd by a desire for social justice as well as for 
religious simplicity. In some centuries of conflict this 
party clarified its aims and at last preached an ethical 
monotheism for Israel. This monotheism would not 
have triumphed (humanly speaking) had it not been 
for the ExUe. In the Exile people found the bond 
wliich hold them together to be that of religion. They 
tliereforo became a Church rather than a nation, 
conscious of possessing a unique treasure in the tradi- 
tions of Jloses and the prophets, carefully avoiding 
amalgamation with those of different faith " {The 
Religion of Israel, by Dr. H. P. Smith, p. 350). 

There remained, then, (1) a nation or community 
that, because of this religious discipline, was able to 
maintain its separate existence when the Temple was 
destroyed and the land laid desolate. For some time 
the main interests of the most zealous adherents of the 
faith had been rehgious rather than political, and when 
the fanatical resistance to foreign oppression was in 
vain the faith of the religious community survived. 
The Jews took their place in the world of commerce, 
and gave their attention to the transmission of the 
traditions and the observances of the written law, so 
far as that was possible without the Temple ceremonial. 
They expanded and arranged the traditions. The 
synagogue became a permanent institution. Scholastic 
theologians, sober scribes, mystical thinkers, fanatical 
visionaries all played their part. The strength and 
persistence of the Jewish Church, m spite of centuries 
of persecution and hatred, is one of the wonders of 
history ; but its creative period closed and its great 
religious contribution was made before the beginning 
of the Christian era. (2) There remained also a book 
which the Jew has not been able to monopohse. It 
W£i8 translated into Greek about two centuries before 
the coming of our Lord, and now, mainly through the 
influence of the Christian Church, it speaks in practi- 
cally all the languages of the world. Under the influ- 



ence of theological scholasticism it was handled in a 
hard, dogmatic sense as mere " revelation " ; but now 
" The Bible as Literature " is a fruitful theme, and the 
fuller appreciation of historical perspective and real 
development gives it a freshness and power as a revela- 
tion of God's education of the world. As wo see the 
great movement pass from stage to stage, we are 
conscious of a " Power not of ourselves," and cry, 
" It is Yahweh's doing, and is marvellous in our eyes." 
" It shall be to Yahweh for a name, for an everlasting 
sign that shall not be cut off." 

Bibliography. — Students of this subject are indebted 
to the works, in German, of Stade. Smend, Duhm, 
Marti, Baethgen, Gunkel, Sellin, Bertholet, and others. 
The following is a brief list of books in English which 
are of comparatively recent date : A. S. Peake. The 
Religion of Israel ; W. Robertson Smith, The Religion 
of the Semites, The Prophets of Israel ; Kuenen, Hibbert 
Lectures ; Montefiore, Hibbert Lectures ; E. Day, The 
Social Life of the Hebrews ; S. I. Curtiss, Primitive 
Semitic Religion To-day ; A. Duff, The Theology and 
Ethics of the Hebrews ; A. S. Peake, The Problem of 
Suffering in the OT ; R. L. Ottley, The Religion of 
Israel ; J. Robertson, The Early Religion of Israel ; 
T. K. Chejme. Jewish Religious Life after the Exile ; 
W. E. Orchard, The Evolution of OT Religion ; W. E. 
Addis, Hebrew Religion to the Establishment of Judaism 
under Ezra ; K. Budde, Religion of Israel to the Exile ; 
J. C. Todd, Politics and Religion in Ancient Israel ; 
L. B. Paton, The Early Religion of Israel ; K. Marti. 
The Religion of the OT ; A. Loisy, The Religion of 
Israel ; W. H. Bennett, The Religion of the Post- 
Exilic Prophets ; W. G. Jordan, Prophetic Ideas and 
Ideals ; H. P. Smith, The Religion of Israel ; E. 
Kautzsch, The Religion of Israel (HDB, vol. v.) ; H. 
Wheeler Robinson, The Religious Ideas of the OT ; 
J. P. Peters, The Religion of the Hebrews : A. C. 
Welch. The Religion of Israel under the Kingdom; 
A. Nairne, The Faith of the OT. See further the 
section on OT Theology in the General BibUographies. 



THE RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS OF ISRAEL 



By Db. OWEN C. WHITEHOUSE 



1. Introductory. — In dealing with tho roligiou3 
institutions of Israel (as of any nation) two principles 
have to be understood and applied by the student : 
(a) tho principle of growth, {h) the principle of cnviron- 
vienl as modifying the forms of growth, (n) Tho 
principle of ijrowtli simply means that all institutions 
grow from simpler to more complex forms. Thus tho 
religious institutions of Israel in the days of IVIoses 
and the earlier rulers, called " Judges," are not tho 
same as they subsequently became in the later times 
at the close of tho Hebrew monarchy (at the beginning 
of the sixth century B.C.). And when we come to 
the post-exilian period we note some remarkable 
developments, {h) The principle of environitient means 
that Israel's life and the institutions which embodied 
it were necessai'ily affected by their surroundings. 
Wo noto this pre-eminently in two waj'S : (i) In the 
earliest stage of tho people's life they were mahily 
nomnds. After the invasion of Canaan they attached 
themselves "more and more to fixed abodes and became 
agricultural, and also in course of time town-dwellei;s, 
engaged to an increasing degree in such occupations 
and crafts as building, weaving, pottery, and metal- 
work, (ii) They were surrounded by other and 
kindred peoples, speaking tho same or a closely similar 
language, some of them more highly civilised, by whom 
they were profoundly influenced. Not only were they 
afiEectcd by tho adjacent Canaanito populations, but 
also these and the Hebrews themselves received tho 
powerful impress of the Babi/lonian civilisntion and 
traditions which spread over Western Asia long before 
tho days of Abraham, and even penetrated into Egypt 
(about 1400 B.C.). As we might expect, during the 
days of the Exile (587-536 B.C.) this influence became 
specially marked. Later still (536-330 B.C.) we should 
note the influence exerted by Persia when tho kingship 
had passed away and tho Jews became a church- 
nation subject to the Persian king, with a largo popu- 
lation scattered in Egypt and Asia Minor. And last 
of all, after Alexander's conquests, Greece deeply 
influenced Jewish life and thought (summed up in the 
term Hellenism; see Schu^or's^^s^ of Jewish People). 

Note also (under this head of environment) the 
ge'yjraphiail factor. Palestine is the only practicable, 
because comparatively well-watered, highway and 
caravan track of intercourse between N., including 
NE. (As.syria) and S. (Arabia), as well as SW, (Egypt). 
It was therefore specially exposed by land to external 
influences. 

It is impossible within our limits to do more than 
very briefly indicate the external influences which in 
God's providence were destined to mould the insti- 
tutions of Judaism. But they will serve to guide the 
studies of the n>ader in his further pursuit of this 
subject and its related branches. 

2. Israel's Primitive Religion and Subsequent De- 
velopment: the Uigli Place, the Sacred Pillar, and 



Sacrifice. — Israel was one of a small group of Semitic 
peoples living adjacent to one another ui Western 
Asia, and so inherited in its earliest institutions a 
common stock of Semitic tradition. Rehgion in its 
beginnings is intensely social. The clan (nii^kpaliah) 
rather than tho family was the unit of early Semitic 
society, and religion might be called the vital cement 
which bound the individual members of the clan into 
a living whole. In the earliest days of Israel's nomadic 
existence the clans were migratorj-, as among the 
Bedouin of the present time. But after the settlement 
in, Canaan the clan became local, and religious rites 
came to be attached to some neighbouring " high place " 
or sanctuary, where the essential element was the 
rude upright stone (or stone heap) under the open sky. 
Examples of such stones may still be found in large 
numbers, especially on the E. side of the Jordan. The 
Hebrew name for this was massebluih (Arab. mi.^b), 
meaning something which is set upright. This was 
the stone symbol of the Divdne presence held to bo 
incorporate in it (see " Pillar " in HDB, p. 819^, footn.). 
In the primitive days of nomadic life tho sacrifice 
consisted of tho bloody offering of the slaughtered ox, 
sheep, or goat. This was called zebah ; but as agri- 
cultural occupations came to prevail during Israel's 
settled life in Canaan, vegetable offerings, whether of 
oil, meal, or cakes, would also be offered. Later, 
and more especially in post-exilian times, these vege- 
table or meal offerings were designated by a special 
name — minhah, meaning " gift " ; but in earlier times 
this tei-m was used of both animal and vegetable offer- 
ings — e.g. of Abel's more primitive animal offering, 
and of Cain's vegetable offering, representing a higher 
grade of civihsaticn (Gen. 43-5 J). The blood or tho 
oil (Gen. 28i8) would be smeared or poured upon tho 
upright stone. Thus sacrifice was an essential part 
of worship, and often consisted of the firstborn of 
herds and flocks or the firstfruits of the oorth brought 
as an offering to God. In its most primitive foriu it 
was in i-eality a feast of communion, in which all the 
participating members partook as well as the present 
deity, who were thus bound together by a sacred bond 
of fellowship. Sacrifice viewed in this aspiect, as re- 
newing the life- bond and binding tiio participants in 
friendship with God, was expressed by tho special 
name shelem, which the LXX probably renders cor- 
rectly by " peace offering." Such an offering might 
he presented in discharge of a vow (Pr. 714"), and a 
certain portion was consumed by tho worshipper at 
his home. But probably this practice grew up later, 
after the suppression of the local sanctuaries (621 B.C.). 
In the most primitive form of worship the stone 
served as altar and Divine symbol in one, but after-j 
wards a separate raised stone platform, with hollov 
for the reception of the blood, was useil as the plac 
of sacrifice or altar (jnizbeah), and later still the upright 
stone was carved into some shape, human or 



THE RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS OF ISRAEL 



99 



to represent the deity. But this was forbidden in 
the Decalogue (Ex. 2O4), and in the Deuteronomio 
legislation tlio pillar-cult itself (niassebJiah) is proscribed 
as hateful to Yahweh (Dt. I622). 

Since the sacrifice was virtually a sacred meal, the 
materials of sacrifice were those which formed man's 
daily food, but were in their sacrificial relation called 
by the generic name " food of God," an old phrase 
which survived in later legislation, such as Lev. 3ii, 

216,8,22. 

At a fairly early period there arose the custom of 
consuming the offering by fire. The biii-nt offering 
('olah, kalil) may have sprung from the felt need of 
destroying all forms of decay, as Robertson Smith 
suggests (RS-, 387), but other and primitive anthropo- 
moqjhic notions may have contributed to this result 
(RS■^ pp. 236, 371, Ex. 29i8, Lev. I9,i3,i7, Gen. 821, 
with which wo may compare the Bab. flood-story in 
the Gilgamosh epic," Tablet 11, hnes 160ff.). 

The earlier narratives of the OT present us -with 
several examples of this sacrificial meal (1 S. 9i2f., 
22-24, Jg. 618-21). Coveimnts wore ratified hy sacri- 
fice in which the deity was present and witnessed the 
solemn contract (Gen, 3l5i-54)» and the contracting 
parties walked between the severed portions of the 
victim (Gen. 15io,i7*, Jer. 34i8 ; see Peake's note in 
Cent.U). 

Li very early times sacrifice undoubtedly expressed 
the idea of projnlialion as well as communion. In 
times of distress or calamity sacrifice was the means 
employed of appeasing the deity to whose anger the 
calamity was ascribed, and of diseasing him to friendli- 
ness. In the later times that followed the period of the 
Assyrian invasions (740-700 B.C.), and especially in 
the days of the Exile and after, sacrifice became to 
an increasing degree propitiatory, or was intended to 
remove some taint or uncleanness of the nature of 
tabu, or atone for some ritual oversight or neglect. 
Of sacrificial offerings destined for this purpose many 
examples may be found in the rules laid down in 
Lev. 4-7, 11-15 respecting the " sin offerings " or 
" guilt offerings " to be brought to the priest. 

Though these prescriptions are collected together in 
the codes of legislation embodied in the later post- 
exilian document P, it is generally recognised that many 
of these rules are of much older origin than the exilian 
or post-exilian period. It may be remarked here that 
nearly all the sins or trespasses (in some cases diseases 
such as leprosy, or uncleanness due to' childbirth) 
specified in these chapters are of a non-ethical char- 
acter. Only rarely, as in Lev. 61-7, are the sins 
actually ethical transgressions. The sense of ethical 
sin was mainly developed in the national consciousness 
by the teaching of the prophets. Many of the deepest 
thinkers then came to feel that sacrifice was an in- 
adequate remedy. Only righteous conduct could 
really atone (Is. I11-17; Am. 621-24; Mi. 66-8; 
Ps. 50, 51 16-17). Respecting sacrifice in detail, see 
" Sacrifice " in HDB, HSDB, and EBi, also Intro. 
to and commentary on Lev. Sacrificial offeiings were, 
in fact, of the most varied kinds, some of which 
SI , ni to have passed into disuse. Thus in 1 S. 76, 
2 S. 23i6 (c/. 1 K. I833-35, Jos. 927), we have allusions 
to water offerings on special occasions, while in 2 S. 
619, Hos. 3i*, reference is made to raisin cakes (dshi- 
shah). These remind us of the cakes or wafers made 
from dough offered to " Ashtoreth, queen of heaven " 
(called kauni.-d)i), to which Jeremiah alludes (7i8*). 
This is illustrated by an interesting Phoenician inscrip- 
tion found in Cyprus, which contains a list , . expenses 
for the month Ethanim (Tiahri) : " For the architects 



who have built tho temple of Ashtoreth ... for two 
sacrifices ... for two bakers who have baked the 
cakes for the holy quecm." In fact, many of the sacri- 
ficial details, and even some names of tho Hebrew 
sacrifices, may bo found in Phoenician inscriptions, 
such as the Marseilles table of sacrificial dues. 

In tho pre-exilian period of Israel's national life 
sacrifices were offered at all the important crises of 
life in which the nation's God was held to participate. 
Especially was this true of war, when God became the 
leader of Israel's armies and His will was sought. 
Hero Israel followed ordinary Semitic custom. War 
was inaugurated by sacrifice (Jg. 620,26, 2O26 ; 1 S. 
79, 139f.). This was said to " consecrate war " 
(Mi. 35, Jer. 64 ; c/. Jos. 85), and the warriors were 
placed under ascetic restrictions, as of sexual absti- 
nence (see " War," EBi, § 2). Here we touch upon 
primitive savage customs, of which the darkest aspect 
is expressed in the Hebrew-Canaanite term herem, 
or sacred ban of destruction, which involved in its 
dire scope everything, inanimate or animate, captured 
in war, including human beings as well as cattle 
(Dt. 234*, Jos. 617*. 826, 1028,37 ; 1 S. 153f., p. 114). 
The same custom prevailed among the Moabites, as 
the Stone of Mesha testifies (line 17). Deuteronomio 
lesislation tended sUghtly to mitigate its harshness 
(Dt. 72, 2O13-17). 

Another of the darker aspects of sacrifice belonging 
to the primitive period of Canaanite and Hebrew Ufe 
was infant sacrifice (p. 83), to which we have an allusion 
in one of the earliest codes (Ex. 222 9f.), where it is 
enacted that the human firstborn as well as of oxen 
and flocks are to be offered to Yahweh. There was 
an ancient superstition .that buildings were safe- 
guarded by human sacrifice (Tylor, Primitive Culture,' 
i. p. 104f.), and we have confirmation of this custom 
in the discovery of cliild-victims walled up m the ruins 
laid bare in Gezer and Megiddo (see Driver, Schweich 
Led., pp. 60-92), and it probably underUes the story 
of Hiel and his children (Jos. 626*, 1 K. I634*). [Trum- 
bull's Threshold Covenant, pp. 45-57, may be con- 
sulted. For a modem story with this motif, see 
Grant Allen's Wolverden Tmcer.^A.. S. P.] In Ex. 
3420 J (f/. Dt. 1519) we see that an animal came to 
be substituted for the human victim (c/. Gen. 2213). 
But human sacrifices continued to prevail in Israel, 
as Jg. 11 30-35, 2 K. I63, 23io, and the allusions in 
Mi. 67, Jer. 731, Ezek. 2O26 clearly prove. It was for- 
bidden in Dt. I810. Tithes (Nu. I821-24*) wore a form 
of sacrificial offering. In 1 S. 815,17 we read that the 
king used to claim his tithings of cornfield, orchard, and 
flocks. It is probable that Israelite sanctuaries made 
a similar claim for the maintenance of the priesthood, 
and it is perhaps in this sense that we should interpret 
the reference to the ' ' firstf ruits " (rishilh) or the firsthngs 
of the soil (Nu. I813') that are to be brought to God's 
house according to one of the oldest codes (^Ex. 3426). 
But we have a definite reference to tho titno offering 
in Am. 44 and Gen. 2822 (E), both of which prove that 
tithes were actually paid in the eighth century (and 
probably earlier) to the northern sanctuary of Bethel 
This custom became embodied in the subsequent legis- 
lation (Dt. 1422-29, Lev. 2730-33 ; cf. MaL 38,io). 

Under the head of sacrifice we may include the rite of 
circumcision (p. 83, Gen. 17*), which was a sacred initia- 
tory ceremony, a species of blood-offering (cf. Ex. 424- 
26), analogous to the offerings of hair customary among 
Syrians (RS-, p. 327f.). FVom Herod, ii. 104 we learn 
that the rite was practised by Phoenicians, Hittites, 
Ethiopians, as well as Egyptians : and in reference 
to the Egyptians this is confirmed by a very ancient 



100 



THE RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS OF ISRAEL 



wall-painting, in which is depicted the surgical opera- 
tion as performed on adolescent youtlis with flint 
implements. There are various indications, 8\ich as 
the Hebrew name for " father-in-law " and " son-in- 
law " (bride-groom) and Gen. 3422-25. which show 
that among the early Semites it was a rite initiatory 
to marriage, but among the Hebrews in later times it 
was an obligatory national covenant rite practised on 
the male infant on the eighth day after birth (Lev. 
123 P), though the earlier custom is cleariy recognised 
in Gen. I725 (P), where it is stated that ishmael was 
thirteen when he was circumcised. From Jer. 926 
we learn that it was practised not oidy in Judah and 
Egj'pt, but also in iloab, Ammon, Edom, and certain 
Arab tribes. Indeed, " uncircumcision " was quite 
exceptional, and became a term of reproach addressed 
to the Philistines, who were a non -Semitic jK>ople. 

In later times sacrifices became more elaborato in 
character ; offerings of inceme in earlier times probably 
meant only the smoke and fragrance of burning meal 
or fatty portions of flesh, but in the eighth and follow- 
ing centuries, if not earlier, the Hebrews had learned 
to compound the fragrant resins and spices from Arabia 
and SjTia. This we might infer from the altar of 
incense discovered by Scllin at Taanach (Ta'annek). 
On the other hand, the language of Jer. G20 seems to 
imply that the use of these ingredients in Hebrew 
sanctuaries was regarded as a foreign innovation 
(f/. 2 K. I610-18), like chariots and horses (Dt. 17i6, 
Ps. 2O7). Probably contact with Babylon and its 
more elaborate forms of worship during the Exile 
partly dispelled these conservative scruples. The 
poet-exilian legislation of P (Ex. 3O34-38) contains 
the specific rules for the preparation of the incense, 
which appears, however, to have differed in some degree 
from the foreign (cf. 9). 

The restriction of sacrifice to the central sanctuary 
in Jerusalem (Dt. 125f. ; 165-7,11,16) in the legis- 
lation of 621 B.C., presupposed in later codes (P), 
tended to reduce seriously the opportunities of sacri- 
fice, especially to the increasing numbers of the Jewish 
Diaspora (the Dispersion). The worship of the syna- 
gogue, which involved singing and prayer and the 
reading of the Law and Prophets, then took the place 
of sacrificial worship. After the destruction of the 
Temple, when the Roman armies under Titus captured 
Jerusalem (a.d. 70), and after the Jews were expelled 
from the city in a.d. 135, synagogue-worship remained 
the sole mode of public religious service, while of animal 
sacrificial offerings only the annual paschal lamb of 
each Jewish household survived, and still survives, 
and a curious cock or hen sacrifice described in 
Oesterley and Box, Religion and W or.- hip, pp. 416f. 

3. Accompaniments of the Primitive Sanctuary and 
Worship. — Proniment among these, and frequently de- 
picted on Phoenician and Babylonian monuments, was 
the sacred poleiDt. 7 5* I K. I013*), symbol of fertility, 
which represented the goddess Asherah (mistranslated 
" grove " in AV, distinct from, though sometimes con- 
founded with, " Ashtoreth "). The pole prolialily origi- 
nated from the sacred tree, the familiar accompaniment 
holy places among Semitic peoples. Frecjuently it 
was a palm-tree, as in Jg. 45 (palm-tree of Deborah), 
especially in Babylonia and Arabia (where the palm- 
tree is HO much used in supplying food for the suste- 
nance of life), but in Israel it was most frequently the 
terebinth, e.g. the soothsayer's terebinth in Gen. 126, 
Jg. 937. While special mention is made of the sacred 
terebinth in Jg. 4ii and 611, other trees are sometimes 
referred to, as the pomegranate and tamarisk, oak and 
poplar. Both the latter are specially mentioned in 



Hos, 4i3 aa the accompaniments of the sanctuaries 
on the hills, which came under prophetic condemna- 
tion, since the cult of these " high places " so closely 
approximated to the Canaanite worship. Hence, 
when we come to the refoi-mation of Josiah's reign, 
whose piinciples were embodied in the Deuteronomio 
code and the Deuteronomically redacted Books of 
Kings, we find these elements suppressed (Dt. 122f.) 
and condemned (2 Iv. 1 79-1 8). 

We find also many allusions to sacred springs (Nu. 
19 1-2 2*), and these sometimes give their names to places 
such as Beer-sheba (well of seven), • £n- Harod (spring of 
Harod, Jg. 7i), ' i^n-hakkore (Jg. l.^ig*, " spring of him 
who calb (on God) "j. Hagar s spring was called 
" Well of the living One who sees me " (Gen. I614). 
Neither prophecy nor law could take exception to so 
simple and beautiful an expression of the pure, life- 
sustaining power of Gotl, as it did to such man-made 
things as the Asherah-Tpoh and the mns.^ehhnh. Hence 
we read, in one of the noblest passages of Ezekiel 
(471-12), of the river flowing out of God's sanctuary, 
wliich deepens as it flows in its life-giving course 
(c/. Ps. 464, Is. 86). The river appears again in the 
last vision of the Apocalypse (Rev. 22if.). We are 
also reminded of the symbolic use made by Jesua 
(Jn. 44) of Jacob's well. 

To the earlier life of the Hebrews belong the ^phod 
and teraphim, the precise nature of which has been 
much discussed. The ephod u-sed in divination by the 
priest must be carefuUy distinguished from the linen 
ephod worn by the priest, e.g. the boy Samuel (I S. 
2 1 8), and by David when he danced before Yahweh 
(2 S. 614). The fonner ephod was not worn but carried. 
That it was a sacred object representing deity is clear 
from the significant passage (Jg. 824-27), in which 
we are told that Gideon made an ephod of the golden 
earrings, crescents, pendants, etc. These were evi- 
dently melted down, and formed a metal covering 
around a wooden stock or base ; and we read, more- 
over, that it became an object of superstitious worship. 
In the sanctuary at Nob the ephod had its recognised 
place, and Goliath's sword was placed behind it, 
probably as a dedicated trophy (1 S. 2I9). In war 
the priest-soothsayer accompanied the expedition, 
and carried with him the ephod-image, in the presence 
of which lots were cast, sacrifice having been previ- 
ously offered to the deity, who gave authority to the 
answer by divinations through lots. The ephod thus 
formed one essential part of this mechanical apparatus 
of inquirj' ; another essential part was the sacred 
lot, which consisted of wooden rods (Hos. 4i2) or arrows 
(Ezek. 21 21). Aj)parently the answi-r was determined 
by the particular way in wliich tlie rod or arrow fell 

The Jot probably had the effect of an alternative, 
chiefly " j'es " or " no." This explains how slowly a 
reply invohnng definite details came to hand, since 
successive operations of the sacred lot were required. 
So slow was the proces.s that Saul was compelled to 
put an end to it in the stress of battle (I S. Mig). 
Sometimes the results wore ambiguous. Yahweh gave 
no answer (36-3S). I S. 239-12 gives a clear illus- 
tration of the detailed process of question and reply. 

Equally if not more obscure is the nature of the {mm 
and tummivi (Ezr. 2r>3), which also appears to have been 
a form of sacred lot, which it was the special function 
of the priest-soothsayer to employ (Dt. 33h, bless 
ing of Levi). The most instructive passage that bears 
upon it is 1 S. I44ifT.*. which is, unfortunately, badly 
corrupted ; but if we follow the LXX and the Hebrew, 
text reconstructed accordingly in Driver's Commentary, 
we are allowed to infer that %trim and tummim we; 



18- 

ra4 

1 



THE RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS OF ISRAEL 



101 



sacred lots employed in an ordeal to discover guilt 
or innocence. According to Jerome's interpretation, 
urim meant the demonstration of guilt, while tummim 
meant acquittal. 

The same word ephod (probably derived from a root 
meaning " lay over as a covering ") is also used to 
designate the linen garb of the priest, a light linen 
vestment, somewhat short, as we may infer from the 
taunt uttered b}' Michal against David (2 S. 620), 
probably a simple loin-cloth. In the details elaborated 
in Ex. 282-25* (P) we have the later development of 
this simple priestly vestment, which must not in any 
way be mixed up with earlier usage. In this elaborate 
description of the post-exilian priestly dross we have 
many obscure points (see Driver, Exodus (CB), p. 312). 
It might be summarised briefly as " a kind of waistcoat 
consisting of an oblong piece of richly variegated 
materia], reaching down as far, apparently, as the 
waist. It was supported by two broad straps passing, 
Jike braces, over the shoulders (' shoulder-pieces,' 
Heb. ' shoulders '), and attached to the ephod in 
front and behind. On the top of each of these shoulder- 
straps was an onyx stone enclosed in a filigree setting 
of gold and engraved with the names of six of the 
twelve tribes of Israel. Round the body the ephod 
was further held in its place by a band woven in one 
piece with it. The ephod was worn over a long blue 
robe, described in 31-35 " (Driver, p. 300). In 
front of the ephod the " pouch " (or bag, not " breast- 
plate ") " of judgment " was worn, richly coloured, 
and with four rows of jewels. This pouch contained 
the " urim and tummim." [See now Arnold, Ephod 
and Ark.— A. S. P.] 

Another obscure object of worship was the terdpMm 
(used in the plural like the name of God, Elohim). 
Whether Yahweh was worshipped under this form as 
Kautzsch supposed, or foreign deities (Benzinger 
suggests Astarte), or ancestral spirits {Bephdim — so 
Ncubauer, Schwally, Harper, and others), is still an 
open question. Recent discoveries show that offer- 
ings were made to the dead. We also know, from 
Michal's artifice (1 S. 19i3f.), that the image must have 
resembled the human shape, and formed a treasured 
part of the household possession (Gen. 3X19,30-35). 
In Hos. 34, Jg. 175, it is conjoined with the cult of 
the ephod, and was evidently employed in divination 
(Zeeh. IO2, Ezek. 2I21). Teraphim were suppressed, 
along with divination and its accompaniments, in the 
Reformation of Josiah (2 K. 2324 ; c/. Dt. 18iof.). 

4. Sacred Seasons and Festivals. — Just as certain 
spaces attached to sanctuaries were regarded as sacred 
by the Semites, and ordinary human activities upon 
them, as hunting and ploughing, were debarred, so 
we find certain portions of tiyne were consecrated, and 
human activities during these holy seasons were simi- 
larly restricted and certain exercises of worship were 
demanded. These sacred seasons were determined by 
(a) certain important forms of human pursuit on 
which life depended, such as sheep-rearing and agri- 
culture ; (^) by the phases of the moon. As an 
example of (o) we may cite the early festival of Israel's 
pastoral life, viz. the festival of sheep-shearing, to 
which Absalom invited royal guests (2 S. 132 3f. ; 
cf. Gen. 38r2f., 1 S. 254f.). Probably it was cele- 
brated with a sacrificial meal of lamb's flesh and the 
firstfruits of wool (Hos. 29), but nothing is heard of 
it in later times. Other examples are furnished by 
the familiar agricultural festivals which we shall 
presently mention. Of (6) wo have tho notable illus- 
trations of New Moon and Sabbath, to which we shall 
now refer. 



L New Moon and Sabbath. — Sabbath was celebra- 
ted in Babylonia as well as Israel. Greece also had ita 
neomenia or new moon celebration. From 1 S. 205f., 
24-29 we Icam that David's clan had an annual new 
moon celebration at Bethlehem, at which his own 
presence was imperative. A sacrifice was offered (29), 
as wo might expect. Though New Moon and Sabbath 
are often mentioned together in the prophets (Is. I13, 
Hos. 2ii, Am. 85), we never find mention of the New 
Moon among the older Hebrew codes. 

With reference to the Sabbath, we have good reason 
for believing that among the early Hebrews the four- 
teenth or fifteenth day of the month was called Sabbath. 
The first was the day of the new moon, and the four- 
teenth (fifteenth) day would bo the full moon. In this 
connexion it may be noted that the solemn paschal 
meal was taken on this very night, 14-15th Xisan. 

Tliis view is strongly suggested by the discovery of 
a list of Babylonian names for days by Dr. Pinches, 
in which tho fifteenth day is called shapaitu or Sabbath. 
While this may be true — and the juxtaposition of 
New Moon and Sabbath in the earlier Hebrew prophets 
(Is. I13, Hos. 2ii, Am. 85) seems to suggest it — the 
seventh-uay Sabbath must have co-existed from early 
times, since the sacredness of the number seven and the 
existence of the seventh year as one of release for slaves 
appear to have been an ancient tradition of Israel 
embodied in early codes (Ex. 21 2). Moreover, the 
restrictions which attached to the Hebrew seventh- 
day Sabbath belonged to the Babj'lonian seventh, 
fourteenth, twenty-first, and twent^'-oighth days of 
the month. On these days, we learn from a tablet 
(IV Rawl. 32 f.), a ruler was not allowed to eat roast 
flesh or even to change his robe or put on clean apparel, 
a king could not mount a chariot or announce a de- 
cision, nor a soothsayer deliver an oracle, ncr could a 
physician lay his hand on one diseased. (See " Holi- 
ness " in ERE, vol. vi. p. 756.) These severe restric- 
tions are the outcome of the old-world Semitic concep- 
tions of holiness applied to time. In earher days they 
did not so seriously hmit human activities as they did 
in later times (probably owing in some degree to 
Babylonian influence during tho Exile). Nevertheless, 
in earher times abstinence from ordinary avocations, 
enforced in the Decalogue (Ex. 20 10, Dt. 514), was 
well sustained, as Am. 85 clearly proves, in which 
similar restrictions applied to tho sanctity of the new 
moon. From 2 K. 423 we infer that Xew Moon and 
Sabbath were days on which prophet or soothsaying 
priest at some high place might be consulted, and that 
considerably longer journeys than the restricted 
Sabbath day's journej^ of later times were permissible. 

With reference to the New Mooti, tho practice in 
post-exilian times is codified in Nu. lOio (P), where it 
is laid down that tho first day of the month was to be 
celebrated by burnt offerings and peace offerings to the 
accompaniment of tho blowmg of trumpets {cj. Ps. 8I3). 
Further detailed regulations as to tho sacrifices then 
offered are contained in a later section in Nu. 2811-14 
{cf. also Ezek. 46i,3,6, Ezr. 35, Neh. 1033,34). 

The Sabbath came to have a greater importance, per- 
haps because it was more frequent than the new moon. 
It is the only holy season mentioned in the Decalogue 
(Ex. 208-1 1* , and in the list of feasts contained in Lev. 
23 it is the first. Also in early pro-exilian times it was 
fully maintained as a day of abstinence from labour, 
even in harv(>st-time and ploughing (Ex. 342 1, J). 
In the later days of the Exile the stringency of the 
Sabbath was enforced by prophetic teaching (Jer. 17 
19-27 (a subsequent addition), Ezik. 44^4, Is. 662, 
6813), as well as by post-exilian legislation. With 



102 



THE RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS OF ISRAEL 



Neh. 13x5-22 c/. Ex. 31i3-i7, 352f., Nu. 1032-36 
(the death-penalty by stoning being enforced on a man 
who gathered sticks on the Sabbath). 

The Sabbath rest of one day in seven became tha 
foundation in early times for a series of Sabbath 
cycles. Hence we have the law respecting the seventh 
or Sabbatic ijcnr of release in that early compend of 
laws, the Book of the Covenant, Ex. 21-23 (viz, in Ex. 
2I2-6, 23iof ), which provided that the slave should 
go free in the seventh year, if he so wished, after 
generous provision had been made for him from the 
Sock, threshing-floor, and ^^ inc-press. Also debts wore 
not to be exacted in this year Moreover, the land (in- 
cluding vineyard and olive-yard) was to remain fallow. 

Wo have likewise a monlh-cyde. The seventh month 
had therefore a special sanctity, and, according to 
the later legislation of Lev. 2324f., the first day of 
this month was signalised by blowing of trumpets and 
an offering made by fire. 

The last of the cycles is the end of the seventh of 
the seven-year periods. This final year was called the 
year of Jubile. But it is quite evident that this was 
a later exilian or post-exilian development, the details 
of which are to bo found in Lev. 258-55". It was 
announced with a loud trumpet-blast on the tenth day 
of the seventh month {i.e. Tishri). The land was to lie 
fallow as in the ordinary seventh year, nor was it to 
be sold in perpetuity, " for the land is mine, for ye are 
strangers and soiournei"s with me " (23). Great diffi- 
culties encompass this subject. Does the Jubile year 
involve the forty-ninth year as well as the fiftieth as 
fallow years for the soil ? 8-1 1 speaks of the Jubile 
year as the fiftieth. But two successive fallow years 
are implied in 20-23, which moreover guarantee that 
the preceding sixth year of the last septennial period 
shall be one of exceptional fruitfulness, so as to enable 
the culti%-ator to tide over the two-year interval. 
Though Driver and White (SBOT) argue that the law 
was maintained, the testimony of late Jewish writers 
that the law of Jubile belonged to theory rather 
than practice appears probable. See EBi, " Jubilee." 

U. Annual Festivals and Fasts. — (a) Pre-exilian. 
— Here we see the clear impress of Israel's settled agri- 
cultural life in Canaan. According to the earliest codes 
(Ex. 21-23i9, 3410-26) there were three such festivals 
in the earUer period of Israel's life in Canaan (Ex. 23 
14-17, 34i8f.), viz. : 

(i.) The Festival of Unleavened Cahes (Massoth). — 
With this the ancient nomadic jxissover sacrifice of the 
lumh (pesah) came to be associated (Ex. 3425, Dt. 16if.), 
probably because both were nearly coincident in time, 
the one being the product of the firstfruits of the 
com, the other the firstling of the flock. The feast of 
Unleavened Cakes was celebrated for a week, from the 
15th to 2l.st Nisan, and is mentioned by itself without 
reference to Passover in Ex. 23i5. According to 
Dt. I69 it began " from the time when thou beginnost 
to put the sickle to the standing corn." It therefore 
marked the beginning of the harvest, just as the Feast 
of Weeks marked its close. One characteristic of the 
feast, which is still maintained in the ritual of every 
Jewish household at the present day, is the complete 
banishment of all leaven (Ex. 12 15*) from the precincts 
(Dt. 164)- Ex. 3425 seems to imply the close conjunction 
of Passover and Unleavened Cakes. On the other hand, 
the special command respecting Passover issued by 
king Josiah in the days of general degeneracy and 
laxity (2 K. 232 if.) seems to imply that this primitive 
celebration had fallen into nccrlect. Henceforth (Dt. 16 
1-7) it acquired exceptional importance, and formed 
an indissoluble part of the Easter festival of Unleavened 



Cakes. Not© that it was no longer to be kept any^vhere 
except at the central sanctuary (sf. ; cf. I519-20). It 
was to be sacrificed at sunset at the close of the 
14th Nisan, and then boiled and eaten within the 
precincta of the sanctuary. 

Here we notice that the domestic character of the 
institution in its earlier pre-exilian form represented 
by the J narrative in Ex. 122 1-27 is removed in order 
to vindicate the exclusive claims of the central 
sanctuary in Jerusalem so repeatedly enforced in 
Deut<?ronomy. What Deuteronomy and this J narra- 
tive have in common is that the Passover is closely 
connected with the Exodas journey. Moreover the 
J narrative derives the name of the Passover .sacrifice 
(pesah) from the fact that God spared the firstborn of 
the Hebrew household on whose door-posts the blood 
of the paschal lamb had been smeared. For other 
explanations, see EBi, " Passover." 

Special provision is made, both in the earlier codes 
(Ex. 23i8, 3425) as well as in Deuteronomy, that the 
sacrificial flesh shall not remain till the morning. 
According to Deuteronomy the Feast of Unleavened 
Cakes closed on the seventh day with solemn Sabbatio 
celebration. 

(ii.) Feast of Harvest (Ex. 23i6), or, as it is called 
in another early compend of laws, the feast of weeks 
(Ex. 3422), was that of the firstfruits of the wheat 
harvest. It was celebrated, as we learn from the fuller 
statement in Dt. I60, seven weeks after the beginning 
of the harvest or " time when thou beginnest to put 
the sickle to the standing com." Seven weeks may 
have been the average duration of the Palestinian 
harvest. Probably it varied in different parts of 
Canaan, and this length of time was ob.served in the 
Jerusalem sanctuary because it applied especially to 
Judah and Benjamin. This would bring the celebra- 
tion to the 6th of the month Sivan (May- June). The 
feast must have corresponded in character somewhat 
to our English " harvest home." It waa accompanied 
by a " tribute of a free-will offering of thine hand " 
(Dt. I610), and all were bidden to participate in this 
truly social feast of rejoicing, both father and family 
as well as servants, resident alien, widow, and orphan. 
Probably the '" joy in harvest " of Is. 93 is an allusion 
to the genial character of this harvest feast. 

(iii.) Feast of Ingathering (Ex. 23i6, 3422), called in 
later times (Dt. I61 3-1 5) feastof Booths ("Tabernacles"), 
completed the cycle of annual agricultural feasts. This 
last was celebrated at the '' turn of the circuit " 
(Ex. 3422) of the old Canaan ite- Hebrew year, i.e. the 
present civil month-calendar of the Jews. The month 
in which it was held was called in pre-exilian Israel 
Ethanim (in the later Bab. -Jewish or Ecclesiastical 
Calendar Tishri), corresponding to September-October. 
According to the more detailed statement in Dt. I613 
the festival lasted seven days, i.e. from 15th to 21st 
Tishri, and was held " after thou hast gathered in 
from thy threshing-floor and from thy wine-press." 
It was essentially a vintage festival. Probably no 
feast was more characteristic of the Canaanito and 
Hebrew life of the pre-L-xilian period. The oracles of 
the prophets of this period contain frequent reference 
to its joy and merry-making. Am. 8if. connects the 
basket of summer fruit with the songs of rejoicing in 
the Temple soon to be changed to howluigs, just as in 
the denunciation of doom on Moab another prophet 1 
declares : " Upon thy summer fruits and upon thy 
harvest the shout (of battle) is fallen, and gladness is 
taken away and joy out of the fruitful field," etc. 
(Is. legf. ; cf. Hos." 9if., Jer. 2530). A picturesque 
touch is given us in Jg. 21 19-21, in which this annual 



THE RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS OF ISRAEL 



103 



autumn festival at Shiloh is described, in which the 
" daughters of Shiloh came out to dance in the dances." 
In a vine-cultivating land like Canaan such a festival 
might easily degenerate into excess. Indeed Shiloh, 
like Samaria (Is. 28i,3), was probably notorious for 
its intemperance (1 S. Ig.isf. ). In fact it was against 
this sensuous indulgence of Canaanite life that the 
Naziriteovdev (Nu. 6*, Jg. 134f.*, Jer. 35, Am. 2i2) arose 
as a protest, and as an endeavour to restore the old and 
primitive simplicity of Israels earlier nomadic life. 

The reformation in Josiah's reign which found ex- 
pression in tlie Code contained in Deuteronomy brought 
about the suppression of the high places. It must havt; 
efEected a great change. Instead of a short pilgrimage 
to a local shrine like Bethel, Shechem, or Bcorsheba, 
the pilgrim was compelled to journey a considerable 
distance to the great Jerusalem sanctuary. As the 
festival then lasted an entire week, the erection of 
booths became necessary and the feast was called the 
feast of Booths (tabernacles). From this time onwards, 
and especially in the restored Temple worship in- 
augurated by Ezra and Nehemiah, when the detailed 
regulations of P (contained in Lev. and Nu.) came into 
force, the old genial character of festival celebrations 
passed awaj% while a purer, more rigid, and puritanic 
logalisra took its place. 

The Hebrew festivals of the pre-exUian period, just 
described, formed the religious cement of the clans and 
tribes of Israel who participated in the common sacra 
of the common altar. In many respects the Arabic 
Hajj graphically portrayed by Wellhausen {Reste 
arab. HeiderJums,- pp. 87-89) represents the old pre- 
cxilian Hebrew Hagg or festival. " It formed the 
rendezvous of ancient Arabian life. Here came under 
the protection of the peace of God the tribes and clans 
which at other times lived apart, and only knew peace 
and security within their own frontiers. Here affairs 
between peoples or states or questions affecting the 
riirhts of nations were settled, tribute paid or cessation 
cf war during a dry season arranged, or a struggle 
postponed for a year. Moreover, an active intercourse 
arose between individuals in every form and mode. 
It was the single opportunity when members of different 
tribes could move freely and fearlessly in their relations 
to one another. Tradesmen and pedlars, smiths and 
horse-doctors erect their booths . . . (cf. the allusion 
to the grasping trader in Am. 825). Slaves are bought 
or redeemed . . . acquaintances are made, and court- 
ships arranged between adherents of different tribes 
who could otherwise hardly manage to see one another." 

(b) Post-exilian Developments. — The general tendency 
of the changes in ritual, especially of sacrifice, and in 
the festivals of the post-exilian period, has been already 
briefly mdicated. They may be found in the legisla- 
tion of P in Ex. 35-40, Lev. entire, and Nu. I-IO28 
and subsequent sections in Numbers. It should be 
understood, however, that by no means all the addi- 
tional details respecting sacrifice or ritual belong to 
this post-exUian period. It is now generally recognised 
that much of this detail ia of old pre-exilian origin. 
Thus: 

(i.) We note that the Passover feast reverts in Ex. 12 
3f.* (P) to its original domestic charactor which it still 
possesses in every JewLsh household. The removal of 
leaven from the house was by later enactment ordained 
for the interval between the evening of the 13th and 
that of the 14th Nisan. This is what in .In. 19i4 
(cf. Mk. 15 12, Mt. 2762) Ls called the " preparation for 
the passover." On present-day use see Oesterley and 
Box, Religion and Worship of the Synagogue, pp. .356f. 
(Ist od.). Till midday of the 14tb, leaven might be 



eaten, after which every fragment was destroyed. For 
the Passover meal either a lamb or a kid might be 
chosen. The selection of the animal was fixed for 
the 10th of the month Nisan (or in the old pre-cxilian 
Hebi'ew-Canaanite calendar Abib), care being taken 
that it should be a male in its first year and without 
blemish (Ex. I25). The lamb was slain at or before 
sunset on the 14th Nisan. Special precautions were 
taken that not a bone of the lamb should be broken 
(Ex. 1246). According to the Jewish treatise Pe dhim, 
vii. 11, the penalty for breaking a bone was forty stripes 
save one. (Some would hold with respect to the 
incident in Jn. I931-33 that the citation in 36 is a 
reference to Ex. I246 ; cf. Nu. 9 12, which is interpreted 
typically. This is possible, though the analogy of 
Jn. 1937 which immed ately follows makes the refer- 
ence to Ps. 3420 more probable.) The flesh was not to 
be eaten raw since the blood would be consumed also, 
in direct violation of the post-exilian regulations in 
Gen. 94, Lev. 726f., I710-15 (P), cf. Ps. I64. but it 
was to be roasted on fire and eaten along with un- 
leavened cakes and bitter herbs (with lettuce or wild 
endive ; see Mishna, Pesahim, ii. 6). All that remained 
was to be consumed with fire before morning. The 
bounden duty of every male, who was not prevented 
by uncleanness or by travel, to take part in the Pass- 
over, was very strictly enforced by later Jewish legLsla- 
tion (Nu. 94-14 P). Even the resident alien if circum- 
cised (Ex. 1248 P) was expected to participate. But 
if, by reason of temporary disqualification, a man was 
prevented from taking part, special provision was made 
for him by the institution of a second Passover just one 
month later (14th lyyar). 

With reference to the seven days that followed the 
Passover, when unleavened cakes were eaten, elaborate 
regulations are set forth in Nu. £816-25. The loth 
Nisan was a day of " holy convocation," on which no 
servile work could be done. Special offerings for this 
and the following days till the 21st (which was again 
a day of " holy convocation " strictly kept) are 
appointed in Nu. 28r9f. From Lev. 23iof. we learn 
that a special rite was appointed for the 16th or 
morrow after the Sabbath, viz. the presentation of the 
" Omer " or sheaf of barley which was waved by the 
priest before Yahweh. A male lamb a year old with- 
out blemish was sacrificed at the same time as a burnt- 
offering, accompanied by cereal offerings. 

(ii.)^ Feast of Weeks or Pentecost. — There has been 
considerable discussion as to how the Pentecost was 
reckoned. It is enough to say that Pentecost was 
reckoned from the morrow of the Sabbath, i.e. the 
IGth Nisan on which the " tmve offering " (TenQfah) 
of the " Omer " or sheaf was presented in the Temple. 
Thus Pentecost fell on the 6th of the month Si van. 
Pentecost was celebrated by tho offering of two loaves 
baked from leaven as firstfraits, accompanied by a 
burnt offering of seven lambs of a year old without 
blemish. Several other sacrificial details were added, 
viz. in Lev. 2315-21, Nu. 2826-31 (P). 

(ih.) Feast of Booths (or Tabernacle's) lasted from the 
15th till 22nd Tishri (Ethanim in the old Hebrew- 
Canaanite calendar) which corresponds to September- 
October. Tho first day (15th) was a day of holy 
convocation or public worship on which all servile 
labour ceased (Lev. 2335). The main characteristic 
of tho first was tho erection of booths from palm- 
branches or boughs of willows or other large trees. 
Nu. 29i2-i6 contains regulations as to the special 
offerings to bo presented on the first day. while in 17-38 
we have a series of instructions respecting the special 
offerings of animals, meal-offerings, and drink-offerings 



104 



THE RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS OF ISRAEL 



for oach day of the feast until the eighth day, which 
was once more a day of solemn assembly that brought 
the festival to a close. 

The precise mode of celebration no doubt varied 
somewhat at difTercnt periods. Thus in Neh. Sisf. wo 
read that the branches in the booth.s wero olive, myrtle, 
and palm, and that the booths were sot up on the 
roofs of houses and in their courts, in the courts 
of God's Temple, and in the open space by the water- 
gate and that of the gate of Ephraim. From Jewish 
treatises of later times (chiefly Succah) we learn that 
in the early morning of the 15th a priest followed by 
a procession went down to the pool of Siloam and di'ew 
water from thence into a golden vessel and returned 
to join the other priests at the morning sacrifice. The 
remaining details of procedure need not bo described. 
But there is good reason to believe that this rite of 
water-drawing, and the libation that followed, were 
carried out in the time of Christ, and there may be an 
allusion to it in Christ's words on the last day of the 
Feast of Booths in Jn. Isyt. : " If any man thirst, let 
him come unto mo, and drink " (see Wunsche, Neue 
Bciiriigc zur Erlauteritng der Evangelist, ad loc.). 

We now come to a .series of pnsl-cxilian Jest ivaU w hich, 
pi'operly speaking, belong only to the centuries subse- 
((ucnt to the Exile. Most important among these is : 

(a) The Day oj Atonement, really a jast and not a 
feaat (Ac. 279 ; <^j- Joseph. Ant. xiv. 10, 14), held on tho 
10th Tislxri. It was called a " high Sabbath," a day of 
'■ holy convocation " on which no work could be done, 
and every Israelite, home-born slave, and even resident 
alien was required " to afflict his soul "' (Lev. 1629f., 
2'iz7-2,2). The ceremonial throughout the day was 
essentially expiatory in character, and reflects tho 
general tendency of sacrificial rites at this time, which 
was piacular, and boro reference to an exalted sense of 
fin and uncleanness. Moreover, the ceremonial through- 
out the whole time, lasting from the evening of the 9th 
to that of the 10th, was centred in the person of the 
High Priest, a personage whose oflice emerges in the 
postz-oxilian period (Zeeh. 3i). The special offerings 
for the day are prescribed in Nu. 297-ii, and are 
similar to those of the eighth day (22nd Tishri) in tho 
Feast of Booths. On the other hand, the ritual pro- 
ceedings appointed for tho High Priest are set forth 
in detail in Lev. I63-28. After having bathed in 
water, ho arrayed himself in garments of white linen as 
well as linen girdle and turban. He then brought a 
young bullock as a sin-offering for himself and his 
house and a ram for burnt-offering. But in making 
atonement for the people a ram was chosen for a burnt- 
offering (.■/. Heb. 727) and two he-goats were selected- 
Then follows a imique ceremony described in con- 
siderable detail. Lots wero cast with resjx^ct to tho 
two he-goats, whereby one was assigned for Yahweh 
and the other for Azazel (probably some demon of the 
desert). Tho bullock was then offered as an expiation 
for the High Priest and his family. After this a censer 
was filled with coals from tho altar of burnt-offering. 
and with a handful of incense the High Priest entered 
the Holy of Holies {cf. Heb. 97,11,24-26). As he threw 
the sweet incense on tho coals, clouds of the incense 
covered the Ark and the mercy-seat, apparently with 
the object (r/. Lev. 16 13) of veiling tho Divine Presence, 
for no man can see God's manifestation and live 
(Ex. 1921, Jg. 1322). The blood of the bullock was tlien 
sprinkled on tho east side of the mercy-seat and seven 
times on the space in front. Coming forth from the 
Holy of Holies the High Priest, having made atonement 
for himself and his household, next made atonement 
for the people by offering the goat reserved for Yahweh 



as sin-offering for the people. He then re-entered the 
Holy of Holies, into which none could accompany him, 
and pc^rformed tho same acta of sprinkling with the 
goats blood. Ex. 30io here gives some fui'ther details 
not found in T^viticus. Once more the High Priest 
emerged from tho Holy of Holies and, after further 
lustral ceremonies on the altar of burnt-offering, pro- 
ceeded to tho strange rite with the goat devoted to 
Azazel (called "scape-goat"). Upon it the High 
Priest laid both liis hands and confessed over it all the 
sins of tho Israelites. The goat was then led away 
into tho wilderness to a remote spot and set free. The 
High Priest, after bathing, resumed his priestly vest- 
ments in tho '■ tent of meeting.'' and then came forth 
and offered two burnt-offerings for himself and the 
people (Lev. lG23f.). jMeanwhile the man to whom 
was entrusted the goat for Azazel was regarded as 
unclean and had to bathe his flesh in water (26). In 
later times the penitential confession of sin (c/. Bab. 
penitential litanies) took an important place in the 
service of the Day of Atonement (c/. Ps. 325). Further 
details and later minutia? introduced into its observance 
may be found in HDB, "Atonement, Day of," derived 
in tho main from the MLshna tract Yomd. For NT 
students the chief interest lies in the great place which 
this fast occupies in tho argument of the Epistle to the 
Hebrews. 

(6) The other festivals or sacred daj's in post-exilian 
Judaism may here bo enumerated. (I) Fensl of 
'Trumpets at the beginning of the seventh month (Tishri) 
of the ecclesiastical year and the first of the Jewish 
civil year. It was accordingl}'' a New Year feslical, 
a .solemn Sabbath and New-moon feast, on which 
work ceased. Tho sacrificial regulations may be found 
in Nu. 29i-6. (2) Feusl of DcdicMion (still called 
by the Jews Hanukkah), established by Judas Mac- 
caboeus to commemorate the purification of the Temple 
in tho month Kislev (about December) 164 b.c. (p. 
GOT), after its desecration by heathen sacrifices through 
Antiochus Epiphanes (1 Mac. 450)- Ps. 30* Is generally 
held to bo a Temple-inauguration Psalm in reference 
to this event, and is still so employed in Jewish liturgy 
(cf, Jn. IO22). (3) Feast of Piirim, ori tho 14th and 
15th of the twelfth month (Adar or Feb.-March), 
commemorated tlie deliverance of the Jews from 
Haman. In Est. 922 it is ordained that Jews should 
treat these two days as " days of feasting and gladness 
and of sending portions to one another and gifts to 
the poor." In 2 Mac. I536 the feast is called " the 
day of Mordccai." Wo Imow that it was celebrated 
in the first century of our era (Joseph. Ant. xi. 6, 13). 
(4) Other ix)st-exi!ian feasts need only a bare enumera- 
tion, such as the Feast of ,4c)Y7, 23rd of second month 
(lyyar), established by Simon the Maccabee, 141 b.c, 
to commemorate the capture and purification of Acra 
(1 i\Iac. 1350-52). This feast afterwards became 
obsolete. — Feast of Wool-carrying on 15th of the fifth 
month (Ab), on which wood was brought to supply the 
altar-fire in tlie Temple (Neh. IO34. 133 1 ; Joseph. 
Wars, ii. 17, 6). — Feast of Nicnnor, another Maccabrean 
institution commemorating the victory over Nicanor, 
the general of tho Syrian forces of Antiochus Epiphanes, 
at Adasa near liothhoron, 161 B.C. . It was hold on 
tho 13th day of Adar (Feb.-March) ; cf. 1 Mac. 749 \ 
— Fast of Esther (Est. 4i6) preceded Purim on the 
13th Adar. ] 

In addition to these wo read of certain fasts of 
sorrowful commemoration of the tragic events which 
occurred at the close of the Judtean kingdom, viz. the 
Babylonian assault on Jerusalem on the ninth day of 
tlie fourth month (Tammuz or June-July) (2 K. 253f., 



THE RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS OF ISRAEL 



105 



Zech. 73,5, 819), the de«truction of the city and 
Temple (Jer. 52i2) on the tenth day of the fifth month 
(Ab or July-August). The following list of months, 
arranged according to the Ecclesiastical Calendar and 
containing the chief feast- and fast-daj's, will bo found 
useful : 

1. Abib or Nisan (March-April). 

1st or New Moon. Beginning of the ecclesiasti- 
cal year. 

I4th. Preparallon for Passover; qxischal lamb 
eaten about sunset. Barley harvest. 

15th. Sabbath and Holy Convocation. Begm- 
ning of Week of Unleavened Cakes. 

16th. Offering of Omer or First Sheaf (Barley). 

21st. Holy Convocation. 

2. lyyar (April-May) or Ziv (older name). 

" 1st. New Moon. 
14th. Second or Little Passover. 

3. Sitxtn (May-Jiuie). 

1st. New Moon. Wheat harvest. 
6th-7th. Pentecost or Feast of Weeks, marking 
the close of com harvest. 

4. Tammuz (Jime-July). 

1st. New Moon. 
6. Ab (July-Aug ). 

1st. New Moon. 
6. £'ZmZ (Aug.-Sep.). 

1st. New Moon 
7 Tishri (Sep.-Oct.) or Ethdn'im (older name). 

1st. New Moon — New Year's Day of the Jewish 
Civil Year. Feast of Trumpets. 

10th. Fast of Atonement. 

15th-22nd. Feast of Booths (or Tabernacles). 

8. Marchesvan (Oct -Nov.) or BtU (older name). 

1st. New Moon. 

9. Kislev (Nov.-Dec). 

Ist. New Moon. 
25th. Feast of Dedication. 
10 Tebeth (Dec- Jan.). 
'1st. New Moon. 

11. Shebat (Jan.-Feb.). 

1st. New Moon. 

12. Adar (Feb.-March). 

1st. New Moon. 

13th. Feast of Nicanor. 

14th-15th. Feast of Purim. 

13. Ve-Adar (intercalary month). 

Vows were not uifrequent among the Hebrews as 
among other peoples. It was an obligation to God, a 
pledge to do certain things, voluntarily uicurred, fre- 
quently in times of crisis or trouble, in order to secure 
Divine aid. The pledge often consisted in some 
service, gift, or sacrifice. It was of a very binding 
character and might be very tragic in its issue, as in 
the case of Jepbthah (Jg. ll3of.), or entail unforeseen 
issues (Ac. 23i'if.). Any evasion or subterfuge was 
sternly censured or suppressed (Dt 2321-23, Pr. 2O25, 
Mai. I14). The laws respecting vows in the Pentateuch 
were codified lato, i.e belong to the post-exilian doca- 
ment P, viz I^v. 27 1-29, which deals especially ^^ith 
the objects devoted or '" sanctified '" to Yahweh in the 
accomplishment of a vow and the conditions on which 
they might be redeemed, and Nu. 30, which deals with 
the vows made by women, whether married or divorced 
or widows. A vow made by a woman without a 
husband's cognisance and consent is not allowed to 
stand — a very pignificant illustration of the subject 
condition of womcu in those times. 

ileference has already (p. 103) been made to the A^a;«r- 
ile, or one who had taken the vow of consecration or 



separation to Yahweh. Unshorn locks and abstinence 
from wine were the chief obligations ; indeed eveiy 
product of the grape is debaned in Nu. 6* (P), and 
even approach to a dead body, though it be of a 
near relation. 

5. Ark of God ; its Temple and Furniture ; Music ; 
Synagogue. — In veiy early times the Hebrews appear 
to have borrowed the conception of an ark which 
formed the jxdladium that enshrined tlie Divine numen 
or presence. Egypt appears to have been the proxi- 
mate source from which it came. In Lepsius, Denk- 
mciler, iii. I89b, we have portrayed on a monument of 
the time of Kameses II a sacred bark which conveyed 
the God Amon. We have also sacred barks moved on 
wheels which conveyed Babylonian deities in religious 
processions. The Hebrew Ark apjiears to have been 
specially connected with military exijcditions. We find 
it associated with the name of the Lord of Hosts 
enthroned above the cherubim in 1 S. 44, 2 S. 62 
(c/. Dt. IO3). Thi-5 Ark in ordinary times, during the 
nomadic life of Israel in the wildemes?, was placed in 
the sacred tent where Moses held converse with Yahweh 
(Ex. 337-11 E). But when Israel advanced on their 
march, the Ark was borne on the priests' shoulders, and 
the cry was raised : " Arise, Yahweh, that Thy 
enemies may be scattered and those that hate Thee 
flee from Thj' presence ' " ; and when Israel reached his 
destination the exclamation arose : " Return, Yahweh, 
to the myriads of IsracFs thousands " (Nu. IO35 ; 
cf. Ps. 681'). Shiloh was the resting-place of the Ark 
when Israel had settled in Canaan. Here was evidently 
a building m which the Ark was housed within a 
covered erection, recess, or adytum (Hebrew debhir) 
with which Canaanite sanctuaries of larger size were 
provided. A lamp was kept burning by the Ai'k ( 1 S. 83), 
probably from sunset till dawn. Outside the covered 
debhir was an outer court open to the sky (hatser) where 
an altar stood whereon victims were sacrificed. An 
interesting added detail occurs in LXX of 1 S. 1 18 : 
" And she (Hannah) said. Let thy handmaid find favour 
in thine eyes. And the woman went her way and 
entered the (rather than ' her ') chamber and did eat." 
The passage becomes clear in the hght of 1 S. 922. 
On the side of the court, near to the debhir, was the 
sleeping apartment of the priests (1 S. 3if.). There 
would also be some larger chamber (lishkah), where 
priests and othei-s partook of the flesh of offerings u.sed 
in sacrifice. Canaanite and Hebrew temples were 
made, like Greek temples, receptacles for treasure. 
Thus 70 shekels were stored in the sanctuary of Ba'al 
Berith (Jg. 94) The sanctity of the spot, it was held, 
would preser^-e the treasure inviolate {cf. 1 K. 15i8, 
2 K. 12i8, I815, 24i3). 

The Temple erected by Solomon, with the aid of 
Phoenician craftsmen, was on a scale hitherto unknown 
in Israel, and in 1 K 6f . we have a number of valuable 
but unfortunately obscure and mutilated details into 
which it is impossible to enter. The reader is 
referred to the articles " Temple " in EBi and HDB. 
This Temple was provided witli a large outer court. 
The worshippuig throng assembled in this outer court, 
within which the most conspicuous object was the 
large altar for burnt offerings, made by TjTJan arti- 
ficers of bronze, with a length and breadth of 20 cubits 
at the base and 10 cubits high. From the base the 
altar rose in three stages. Also SE. of the Tcniplo 
proper stood a bronze " sea "' 5 cubits high and LG 
in diameter, which rested on twelve oxen of bronz» 
with their faces directed outward, the significance of 
which cannot he discus.sed here. Passin? U-tween two 
pillars called Yachin and Bo'az fronting E, and through 

4a 



106 



THE RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS OF ISRAEL 



the portico, we come into the Temple proper, which 
consists of two parts. Fimt, a front chamber 40 cubits 
long, 20 broad, and 30 in height. The chief object 
contained in this front chamber was the so-called 
"table of shewbread " (Ex. I'oJS-v^'. Lev. 245-y"), or 
of " bread of the Presence," a kind of altar-table made 
of codar-wood (1 K. 620). Second, we come to the 
hindermost chamlx>r or most holy place (Holy of 
Holies), which stood on the westernmost side of the 
Temple structure and corresponded to the aforesaid 
debhir. For within its iirocincts stood the Ark of the 
Covenant (or •• ark of God ") already described, in which 
God's presence dwelt in a very special manner. This 
Holy of Holies is associated very intimately with the 
personality of the High Priest and his functions on the 
groat Day of Atonement. See above, § 4, p. 104. 

After 621 b.c. (Josiah's Reformation) Solomon's 
Temple actjuired an exclusive position as the only 
place where sacrifice could be offered. But at this 
time, and especially during and after the Exile, a 
very large number of Jews were scattered in the lands 
outside Palestine, especially in Egypt, Babylonia, and 
in the countries which bordered the eastern shores of 
the Mediterranean. How did they maintain their 
religious life ? Recent discovery has shown us that 
a temple for Jewish worship existed at Elephantine 
in Epj-pt before 526 b.c. and continued till its destruc- 
tion in 407 B.C. Later still wo have the rival temple 
to that of Jerusalem at Leontopolis set up by Onias IV 
in 160 B.C. (Is. 19i8*). But this was an illegitimate wor- 
ship in defiance of Deuteronomy. Accordingly Jews had 
recourse to the Synagogue and its worship, in which 
praise, prayer, and the reading of the Scriptures (Law 
and Prophets) took the place of the sacrificial cere 
monial which was lawful in Jerusalem only. Everj'^ 
considerable town would have one or more synagogues. 
Indeed the growth of a bodj"- of canonised Scripture 
probably arose partly in response to the needs of pious 
Jews in the widely scattered and ever-increasing 
Diaspora who desired to worship the God of tlieir 
fathers on the Sabbath and at other times than the 
recurring annual feasts at Jenisalem. The general 
8uper\asion of the services of the synagogue was in 
the hands of the Chief of the Synagogue. Worship 
consisted of public prayer, the reading of the Scriptures 
(Law and Prophets) and exhortation, and it was 
competent for any man to take part (Lk. 4i6-22, 
Ac. l.'iisf.) with the consent and approval of the chief 
or chiets of the sMiagogue. Both in the later post- 
exilian Temple as well as in synagogue-worship, music 
and singing came to play an important part. This is 
clearly evident in 1 Ch. 15i6f., I64-36, 25i-7. The 
clalx)rate arrangements for psalmody hei-e set forth do 
not belong to the early days of the Israelite monarchy, 
but to those of the later post-exilian Temple services 
of about 2n0 b.c. or later, when the Books of (Ihronicles 
were dra\*-n up. The five Books of Psalms grawlually 
arose in connexion with the musical worship of Temple 
and sj-nagogue. Musical instruments came into use, 
and there can be little doubt that Greek inHuonce here 
played a part. Thus the names of several musical 
mstnnnents in Dan. 35.10,15 are Greek (cf. Lk. 152S). 
The B<wk of Daniel Ix" longs to 165 B.C. See Schuror, 
Z/t>/. of the Jewish People, 3rd German ed., vol. ii. 
pp. 49f. 

6. Sacred Persons. — King — Sorcerer — Soothsayer — 
Priest — Scribe — Prophet. 

The King was anointed, and was thereby held to be 
endowed with a certain supernatural power, and on 
this account was called Messiah or " the Lord's 
anointed.' His person, like that of a priest, was 



sacrosanct and inviolable (I S. 246-io, 2 S. I14). In 
this respect the Hebrew king did not greatly diflfer from 
the Assyrian or Babylonian kuig, who was held to be 
of Divine descent and possessed priestly functions. 
Thus David and his sons exercised priestly func- 
tions (2 S. 617, 1 K. 863f.). At a very early period 
Israel had, like other Semites (e.g. the Babylonians), 
their recognised Magicians, Soothsayers, and Necro- 
mancers. The magicians or sorcerers sought by in- 
cantations, tying of knots, or other practices, such aa 
the evil eye, to control events or blast the happiness 
or welfare of those against whom these practices were 
directed (see Magic, Sorcery in HDB). The Necro- 
mancer was supposed to lie possessed of the spirit of a 
deceased person and to speak with his voice. Not 
infrequently these arts were practised by women, as 
in the case of the Witch of Endor (1 S. 287f.)- They 
were sternly reprobated by the prophets (Is. 819, 294) ; 
in fact the death-penalty was appointed for the 
sorceress in the early legislation of Ex. 22 18. On the 
other hand the Soothsayer (kosem), who endeavoured 
to ascertain by various mechanical means, such aa 
wooden rods or arrows, the will of the Deity before 
any important enterprise, such as a military expedition, 
was undertaken, was regarded as one of the mainstays 
of the state. Thus in Is. 32 ho Is mentioned by the side 
of the judge, the captain, and the prophet. But in 
Dt. ISiof his function, as well as that of others closely 
akin, is definitely declared illegitimate. See Sooth- 
sayer in HDB. 

In the early days of Israels life in Canaan sooth- 
saying was one of the chief duties of the Priest. This 
can easily bo shown by reference to the facts of the 
case. It has been already stated in § 3, p. 100, that it 
wa-s the business of the priast who bore the ephod 
in the military expeditions of the king to declare God's 
will to the king who inquiied of Yahwch by means of 
the sacred lot. In the Blessing of Moses it Is said of 
the priest-tribe Levi that iirini and tummim (already 
explained, pp. lOOf .) formed part of their sacred function 
(Dt. 338 ; cf. I S. 286). The Hebrew word for " priest " 
Is kohen, but in Arabic what is virtually the same 
word (kdhin) means '" soothsayer." In later times 
the priest's function became more restricted to sacri- 
ficial and other Temple ceremonial. Moreover, in 
earlier times there was no restriction as to the personnel 
of the priesthood. Joshua, who was an Ephraimite, 
exercised priestly functions in the " tent of meeting " 
without the camp (Ex. 33ii E), while David, a Judiean, 
offered sacrifice (2 S. 617). and his sons also discharged 
priestly functions (2 S. 818). This is in full accord 
with the earlier corapends of legislation (Ex. 2O23- 
23io. :j4io-28), in which there is no restriction as to the 
personnel of the priesthood. Yet it is fairly obvious 
that at an early time sjxjcial virtue accrued to those 
who belonged to the tribe of Levi, to whom priestly 
fimctions came to be attached. This clearly appears 
in the early narrative Jg. I77-13. Micah feela 
assured of a Di%ine blessing " seeing I have a Levitc 
for priest." In the time of Josiah the reformation re- 
flected in the legislation of Deuteronomy definitely 
assigned the priesthood with its sacrificial function to 
the Levites only. A still further restriction was made 
in p<jst-exilian legislation when one family only of the 
Levitical tribe was ix^rmitted to hold the sacerdotal 
function, viz. the sons of Aaron, while the other 
Levites were assigned subordinate functions (cf. Ezok. j 
447f.). These new developments of the post-exilian 
Ix>riod are reflected in P (mainly in Leviticus). More- 
over we now (for the first time in 25oeh. 3i) find that 
the entire priesthood has a supreme head — the High 



THE RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS OF ISRAEL 



107 



Priest — whose exalted national and roproscntativo 
dignity is most fnlly manifested in the Great Day of 
Atonement already described in § 4, p. 104. This high 
personality, with his sacred office, naturally absorbed 
the dignity and position of the Hebrew king of pro- 
exilian times, in days when Judah was njled under a 
Persian viceroy and the old national state with a 
king at its head gave place to a Church-st^te whoso 
head was the High Priest. In the middle of the second 
century B.C. we have a succession of Asraonean High 
Priests" in Jerusalem enjoying princely power and 
splendour. The elaborate details respecting the priest- 
hood and their courses in 1 Ch. 23f. reflect the con- 
ditions of ecclesiastical organisation and practice in a 
Jate post-exilian period (third century B.C.). Cf. Lk. 
l5.8. 

After the time of Ezra the Pentateuch or Law (Torah) 
became a book of canonised authority, the foundation 
on which the reUgious and social life of the Jewish 
community was based. Its careful study became, 
therefore, a matter of vital interest, and thei-e arose a 
body of men distinct from the priests, called the Scribes, 
who made the study and interpretation of the Law their 
special business. The duties of the priests were con- 
nected with Temple ceremonial In days when Hellen- 
ism became rampant and corrupted the priesthood, the 
scribes, who were enthusiasts for the Law, grew in 
power and reputation, and this high position they held 
in the time of our Lord. 

In the far earlier age of Israel's life before the Exile 
there arose another order of religious functionary called 
the Prophets. In the days that preceded Samuel, the 
prophet was usually called Seer (1 S. 9o), who would give 
answers to those who " inquired of God " and sought 
direction about the ordinary affairs of life, much 
as those who consulted a Greek fxAvriS' We know 
that Canaanites also had their prophets (1 K. I819). 
Prophesying in the days of Samuel assumed strange 
ecstatic forms, and prophets were somewhat like the 
dervishes in Mohammedan countries (1 S. lOsf., I810, 
1923f.). "Frenzied" (2 K. 9ii) was the term cur- 
rently applied (r/. Hos. 9?) to the manner and speech 
of their members. These members formed special 
guilds or societies dwelling in special spots and pre- 
sided over by some head such as Samuel, Elijah, or 
Elisha. The term " schools " of the prophets is 



altogether a misnomer. Individual prophets like 
Samuel, Nathan, Elijah, Elisha, and Micaiah ben 
Yimlah (1 K. 22) rose above the ordinary level of these 
prophets, and when we com.c to the eighth century 
prophets such as Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, and Slicah, we 
are in the presence of men of far-reaching. Divinely- 
inspired intelligence, who were able to interpret to 
their countrymen God's true nature and His m.oral 
requirements. Israel's progress in the knowledge of 
God and in the path of true religion was almost wholly 
due to the teaching of this wonderful order of men, who 
succeeded in lifting religion out of the realm of tradi- 
tional and national ceremonial and basing it on its true 
foundation of God's eternal, righteous will. 

It is at this point that we see the great distinguishing 
feature of the Hebrew religion from the time of Moses 
(himself a prophet) onwards. No other race possessed 
such an order of men. It is not so much in their 
priests and their institutions that Israel was distin- 
guished from other ancient peoples of the world, for 
other Semitic peoples exhibit in these respects parallels 
more or less close. But Israel is distinguished by those 
large progressive ideas instilled by the Hebrew prophets 
which enabled Israel, and through Israel mankind, 
" by divers portions and in divers manners " (Heb. li) 
" to rise on stepping-stones of their dead selves to 
higher things-" 

Literature. — Nowack, Hebrdische Archdologie : Ben- 
zinger. Hebrdische Archdologie * ; W. R. Smith, The 
Religion oj the Sem ites ^ ; Wellhausen. Reste arabi- 
schen Heidenlums^., Prolegomena to the His ory of 
Israel ; Lagrange, Etudes sur les Religions Simitiqves*; 
Schiirer. History of the Jewish People in the Time 
of Christ. Of the older Uterature, J. Spencer's De 
Legibus Hebrcporum Rit^ialibiis is valuable. There is 
at present no English work corresponding to Nowack's 
or Benzingers the volume in Int. Thcol. Lib. has 
been entrusted to G. B. Gray. Meanwhile the English 
reader may study the subject in works on OTT and 
the Rehgion of Israel (see p. 97) ; in valuable articles 
on the various topics in HDB. EBi. HSDB, EB", 
Herzog-Hauck Reahncyclopmlie. the Jewish Encyclo- 
pedia ; and in commentaries, esp. Nu., Dt.. Jg., in 
ICC ; Ex., Lev., Nu., in CB and Cent.B.; Ex. in West.C. 
The commentaries in HK and KHC are also to be 
recommended. 



THE SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS OF ISRAEL 

By Professor WILFRID J. MOULTON 



The writings of the OT reflect many stages in the 
history of the Hebrew people. The stories of the 
patriarchs and various references in later days, such 
as Dt. 265fi'., 32io, as well as the survival of the clan 
of the Rechabites (2 K. IO15, Jer. 35), point back to a 
nomad period when the life closely resembled that of 
the modem Bedouin. From the settlement in Pales- 
tine up to the reign of Solomon we see a peasant popu- 
lation growing into a race of sturdy yeomen. From 
the days of Solomon onwards intercourse with sur- 
rounding nations changed the people from a self-con- 
tained community into a bi.-y nation of traders, and 
brought in a multitude of foreign arts and modes of 
life. Even after the return from the Exile, despite 
all efforts to seclude the people within the hedge of 
the Law, the flood of foreign influences continued to 
pour in, until in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes 
Hellenism threatened to submerge Judaism altogether. 
It is plain, therefore, that no single view cf the social 
institutions of Israel can be given. The present article 
can do little more than comment on some phases of 
the progress revealed in the OT. Yet it is not hard to 
show how the same projihotic spirit which purged the 
religious conceptions of the people and wrought out 
the victorious faith of later days was active also in 
creating truer social ideals and in criticising the 
failures and corruptions of the developing social life. 

The subject will be dealt with under three main 
headings : A. The Family. B. The Life of Trade and 
Commerce. C. The Commimity. 

A. THE FAMILY 

In all the early records of Israel the family is counted 
as of supreme importance, and within the family the 
father ranks as undisputed head. The tribes are pre- 
sented as the natural expansion of the family into the 
clan, and the genealogies trace back their origin by 
male descent from a single ancestor. Hence to the 
historians of t '10 Exodus the " heads of fathers' houses " 
appear as the natuiai chieftains of the people. Bej'ond 
the natural ties of kinship and possessions the family 
was held together by a religious bond. As the ritual 
of the Passover shows (Ex. 123ff., ISsff.), the father 
acted as house-priest, airecting the worship of the 
family. In later days the family gathers for its yearly 
sacrifice at some sanctuary (1 S. I3), or keeps its annual 
rehgious festival in its own city, at which every member 
is expected to be present (1 S. 206,29). Similarly Job 
is represented as acting as priest on behalf of his 
family (I5). 

In earlier timers the father possessed the right of 
life and death over his children. This is illustrated 
in the stories of Abraham and Isaac (Gen. 22), and of 
Jephthah's daughter (Jg. Il34f.). Similarly in the 
Book of the Covenant a father has the right to sell 



his daughter as a bond -servant (Ex. 21 7). But in 
later times this right ceased to be despotic. In Dt. 
21i8f. the incorrigible son is liable to the death penalty, 
but this must be inflicted by the decision of an im- 
partial tribunal. Later still, as in Pr. 30i 7, disobedience 
to parents is cited as something which brings the 
offender to a bad end, but not as an offence punishable 
by law. 

In this development we can see the growth cf the 
sense of individual personality. Wliereas in the story 
of Achan the whole family is held guilty for the sin of 
its head (Jos. 724 f.), and Saul's descendants suffer for 
the sins of their ancestor (2 S. 21), the law of Deutero- 
nomy' (24 16) limits responsibility to the actual trans- 
gressor, and Ezekiel and Jeremiah insist that " the son 
shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the 
fatlicr bear the iniquity of the son." "The soul that 
siimeth, it shall die " (Ezck. I820. Jer. 3I30). 

Husband and Wife. — Throughout the OT polygamy 
was recognised and generally practised. The wife 
was purchased with a marriage-price, and became part 
of her husband's property. In the Decalogue she is 
mentioned as part cf his wealth. The humane legis- 
lation of Dt. 21 15 interposes for the protection of the 
children of the less favoured wife. The same law-bock 
regulates the practice of divorce, requiring some 
definite and substantial ground, and a proper legal 
instrument (24if.). Yet we should err in supposing 
that a wife's position was onlj' that of a slave. In 
Ex. 2l8 and Dt. 21 14 it is enacted that no woman, 
not even one bought as a slave or taken captive in 
war, may be scld into slavery when once her master 
has entered into marriage relationships with her. 
In practice, force of character was always able to win 
outstanding influence, as may be seen by the story 
of Deborah and the picture of the good housewife in 
Pr. 31ioff. Moreover, the whole prophetic movement 
was towards monogamy. Hosea sees in liis love for 
his sinful wife the symbol of God's patient love for 
rebellious Israel. Jeremiah speaks of the time when 
Israel followed her God, as a bride in the love of her 
espousals (2if.). Malachi protests that divorce is 
against the Divine will (2i6). And in the story of 
the institution of marriage (Gen. 224) our Lord found 
lying latent the principle of the ideal union between 
man and woman (Mk. 102ff.). 

As to the actual marriage ceremony we have little 
information. It appears to have been a purely 
secular act, and was not accompanied by any religious 
rites. Such customs as are mentioned — the bringing 
of the bride to her husband's home, richly dressed and 
accompanied by troops of rejoicing friends (Ps. 45. 
Is. 49i8) — resemble Oriental practices of the present 
day. The Song of Songs is very probably a series of 
lyrics sung during the week of wedding festivities 
(pp. 418f.). 



THE SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS OF ISRAEL 



109 



The Home. — The oldest form of dwelling spoken of 
in the OT is the tent. According to tradition the 
ancestors of Israel were tent-dwellers, and the memory 
of this time remained long afterwards in the proverb, 
" To your tents, Israel ! " (2 S. 20i). In its simple 
form the tent was of one compartment only, separated 
into two by a hanging curtain screening the women's 
apartment from the public room. Long after the 
settlement in Canaan the Kenites (Jg. 4i7), as well 
as the Rechabites (Jer. 356-io), remained true to their 
ancestral customs and dwelt in tents. A richer family 
would possess a number of teiits (Gen. 2467, 3I33). 
Like the tent, the peasants' houses consisted often of 
one room only, with floors of beaten mud. Larger 
houses had two rooms separated by a court. Large 
families might have a number of courts with rooms 
opening out of them, for the accommodation of the 
several households. The upper room spoken of in 
Jg. 820 (Heb. " upper chamber of cooling "), as also 
in 2 K. 4 10, was an additional story raised above the 
flat roof of the house at one corner, or upon a tower- 
like annex to the building. The battlement or 
parapet (Dt. 228) guarded the part of the roof which 
was left open, and was used either for recreation or 
for household purposes (Jos. 26, Jg. I627, 1 S. Qasf., 
Jer, 1913). The roof was reached by a ladder or rough 
staircase passing up the outside of the house, or along 
one of the walls of the court. In later days the 
prophets lament the growing luxury of the rich, who 
built themselves houses of hewn stone (Am. 5ii), with 
spacious chambers, panelled with cedar (Hag. I3*), and 
lavishly adorned (Jer. 2 2i3f.). In the prophets also we 
find references to silken cushions and divans with frames 
inlaid with ivory (Am. 3x2, 64), marks of a luxury 
foreign to the simpler traditions of Israel. The win- 
dows were not of glass, but consisted of a frame of 
lattice across the lower half (1 K. 64), the upper part 
being either barred or left open. In large houses a 
doorkeeper guarded the entrance (2 S. 46, RVm), 
sleeping at night in a small room just within the 
entrance. His position outside the life of the family 
is referred to in Ps. 84io. The doorways were often 
highly ornamented (Is. o4i2), whilst, according to the 
law of Dt. 69, sentences from Scripture were inscribed 
upon the posts. 

Inheritance. — According to Hebrew theory the whole 
land was the gift of God to the people, and was divided 
amongst the tribes so as to secure a share to each 
family and clan (Nu. 32-34, Jos. 14i-5, I81-10). To 
this ancestral land the Israelite felt himself bound by 
the closest ties. The tenacity with which Naboth 
clung to the inheritance of his fathers illustrates the 
strength of this principle (1 K. 21), and the horror 
excited by Ahab's tyrannical disregard of it contri- 
buted largely to the success of the rebellion of Jehu, 
lu the law of the year of Jubile (Lev. 25) provision is 
made that land shall not be finally alienated from its 
origmal proprietors. Purchase of land is thus reduced 
to the granting of a lease of fifty years at the longest. 
It is very doubtful whether this law, which occurs 
only in the later Codes, was ever effectually enforced. 
The denunciations of the earlier proj)hcts (cf. Is. 58) 
suggest that it could not be appealed to in their days. 
But the right of pre-emption and the power of purchase 
by a kinsman is referred to in Jer. 326ff., and is un- 
doubtedly an ancient custom. 

The natural heir of the family estate was the eldest 
son. There are indeed many stories which show how 
younger sons succeeded to their fathers' influence ; 
we need only mention such names as Isaac, Ephraim, 
Solomon. But the law of Dt. insists on the right of 



the firstborn to a share twice as large as that of his 
brothers, and seeks to protect him against the designs 
of a favourite wife (21 15-17). We have no means of 
deciding whether the landed property was divided. 
It is most likely that it passed to the eldest son, who 
would make some kind of provision for his brothers. 
To him also passed the obhgation of maintaining any 
unmarried female members of the family. 

The Priestly Code (Nu. 275-10) gives a formal state- 
ment of the law of inheritance. Where there were 
no sons the property passed to daughters, failu:g them 
to brothers, failing brothers to uncles, and failing them 
to the next of kin on tire father's side. As the wife 
became a member of the husband's clan, her own 
relatives are not recognised in the distribution of 
property. Heiresses were expected to marry into their 
own clan (Nu. 366), and a member of another elan 
marrying an heiress joined her clan (Ezr. 26i, Neh. 
763). The meaning of these provisions is obvious. 

Instances arc not wanting where, as with the Arabs 
before Mohammed, a widow could be inherited like 
the rest of a man's property (cf. 2 S. 1 62 off.). Levirate 
marriage (Dt. 2551!. *) provided that a childless widow 
should be retained as a member cf her husband's clan 
by marriage with his brother or kinsman. Failing 
this she might return to her own family (Lev, 22i3, 
Ru. Isf.), where she was free to marry again. Such 
provisions must often have failed in securing her 
interests, and Dt, IO18, 24i7, 27i9, as well as the 
prophets (Is. I17, IO2, Jer. 76, 223, etc), present her 
claims to compassion with much earnestness. 

The whole purpose of these laws and customs was 
to secure the economic independence of the family, 
by ensuring perpetual access to the land, and by 
preventing any such absolute property in laud as 
would permit the building up of great estates exclusively 
held. The growth of commercialism and other social 
causes made this ideal impracticable. But the way in 
which it recurs m the latest strata of legislation shows 
its constant attraction for the Hebrew mind. 

Education. — No schools are spoken of in the OT. 
The " Schools of the Prophets " were associations or 
brotherhoods of men united by a common zeal for the 
God of Israel, and we have no traces of any literary 
activities in connexion with them. That the people 
were by no means illiterate may be conjectured from 
the written record left by the workmen who excavated 
the tunnel from the Virgin's Spring to the pool of 
Siloam in the days of Hezekiah. Amongst the writ- 
ing prophets, Amos and Micah sprang from the ranks 
of the people. Regular officials kept the royal annals. 
Is. IO19 refers to trees so few " that a child could write 
them," 

In the main, however, the parents were the chief 
teachers of their children and the home the onlj^ school. 
The moral instruction of the children is emphasized as 
one of the weightiest obligations of the father. Within 
the home there was to be constant conversation about 
the claims of Yahweh and remembrance of His redeem- 
ing acts (Dt. 67, 11 19). The recurrence of national 
festivals served to introduce the recital of the provi- 
dential history of the past (Ex. 13sff, Ps. 784ff). The 
part taken by the mother is mentioned in Pr. 620,31 1. 

It would appear that the sons of prominent men 
were placed under the care of guardians who would 
naturally be teachers also (2 K. 10i,5, 1 Ch. 2732). 

Apart from these scanty references it may be safely 
conjectured that instruction was given at the various 
sanctuaries by the priests who were the natural 
guardians of the knowledge of the day. The Israelites 
enterc4 into a land which was already a seat of an 



no 



THE SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS OF ISRAEL 



ancient civilisation, aa the excavations at Gozer and 
eleewhere make manifest. Statesmen, annalists, 
phyBicians, prophets must all have acquired the know- 
ledge needful for their calling, and schools of some sort 
must have been present. The class of " Wise Men " 
whose sayings are pre3erve<l in Pr. and who are spoken 
of in Ec. may have given oral teaching at least, as did 
the contemporary Sophists in Greece. 

Hospitality. — Tliis is so marked a feature of Oriental 
life that it deser%(s mention. A guest is sacred and 
his person inviolable. Narratives like Gen. ISif, 
2431, Ex. 220, show the sense of this duty. Offences 
against the law of hospitality were sternly punished 
(Jg. 20). In Ps. 233, Pr. I810, t!ie security of those 
who are the guests of God is strikingly expressed. 

The law of the ger or sojourner, the resident foreigner 
(Lev. 178f.*, Dt. I16*, IO18, 1429, etc., Mai. 35), is an 
extension of tliis thought. He dwelt under the protec- 
tion of the family or the tribe, and therefore under the 
care of the God in whose land he was a guest. The 
story of the Gibeonites (Jos. 9) shows how this status, 
even when acquired by fraud, was sacredly respected, 
though service might be required in return. 

Slaves. — Throughout the OT period slaves were 
regular members of Hebrew households. Many of 
these were foreigners, either prisoners of war or ac- 
quired by purchase. Although they ranked as the 
property of their mastei-s they had rights which were 
carefully safeguarded by legislation and custom (Ex. 21 
20 f. 26f.). A female slave could be incorporated into 
the family by marriage (Dt. 21ioff.); a slave might 
marry his master's daughter (1 Cli. 234f.) ; and in case 
there was no son might inherit the property (Gen. 15cf.). 
Further regulations ensured the participation of slaves 
both in the sabbath rest and in the great festivals (Ex. 
2O10, Dt. 12i8, I611). Even the runaway slave was 
taken under the protection of the law (Dt. 23i6). 
Slavery in most countries has been productive of 
many social evils. As safeguarded in Israel it pro- 
duced many benefits. It provided for the gradual 
incorporation of many aliens into the national life and 
so assimilated the heterogeneous peoples of Palestine ; 
it afforded a safe position to many who might other- 
wise have become -vagrants ; and it developed the spirit 
of benevolence. Kindness to elaves was counted 
amongst the cliief virtues of an upright man (Job 30 
13, Pr. 30io). The presence of Hebrew slaves was 
caused by family misfortunes. Children of struggling 
families might be sold into slavery to keep the patri- 
mony intact. In the disorganisation caused by the 
wars in the times of the monarchy, and through dearth 
and famine, manj' families were reduced to destitution. 
Debtora, and thieves who were unable to make restitu- 
tion, could be sold (Ex. 222, 2 K. 4i, Am. 2<j, 80. etc.). 
The law of the Book of the Covenant limited the length 
of a Hebrew's servitude to six years (Ex. 2I2). From 
Jer. 348-17 it is clear that this merciful pro\'ision was 
often overridden. Post-exilic legislation held it in- 
tolerable that a Hebrew Khoukl be kept as a slave by 
one of his own nation, and required that he should be 
treated as a hired servant (Lev. 203 off.). In the spirit 
of this legislation Nehemiah intervened to reileem the 
Jewish slaves of foreign masters (Neh. 05-8). The 
words of Lev. 2041 — " He shall return unto his own 
family, and unto the possession of his fathers shall he 
return " — show the persistence of the ancient ideal of 
a nation of families, each posses«!ing its own share of 
the land, an ideal which neither slavery nor misfortune 
had been able to destroy. 

Mourning. — The usual disposal of the dead was by 
burial (Gen. 23 19, etc.). To bum a dead body is re- 



garded in Am. 2i as a sin against common humanity 
meriting the punishment of Yahweh. The bodies of 
notorious wrong-doers were in some cases burnt as an 
aggravation of the penalty of death (Jos. 725, Lev. 20 
14,217). In comiexion with funeral ceremonies the 
ordinary Oriental practices were followed ; hired 
mourners added their lamentations (Am. 5i6, Jer. 9i7, 
Ec. 123) ; outward signs of grief such as the rending of 
garments, wearing of sackcloth, and sprinkhng earth 
upon the head are freely named (2 S. 33if., I319). 
Besides these practices there are references to certain 
cuttings and shaving of portions of the head as existent 
down to at least the time of Jeremiah (Jer. 166, 4I5, 
Am. 8io, Is. 324, 22i2). These practices are forbidden 
in Dt. 14if., Lev. I928*. They undoubtedly had 
heathen associations, and may have becui designed to 
help in concluding a covenant with the departed, at 
whoso grave the shed blood or cut hair might be offered ; 
or, as Kautzsch conjectures, may go back to an ani- 
mistic stage where it was desired to make the hving 
unrecognisable by the malevolent spirits of the dead. 
Whatever the original meaning may have been, the 
motive of the prohibition in Dt. is the reminder that 
the Israelites are the children of Yahweh, and must not 
imitate the maimers of the surrounding peoples. 

B. THE LIFE OF TRADE AND COiMERCE 

The land of Palestine is singularly well situated for 
the home of a busy trading community. Northwards 
through the Lcbanons there was access to the great 
empires of Mesopotamia ; on the south-west there was 
constant communication with Egypt, whilst caravan 
routes connected it with Arabia on the south ; on the 
west lay the Mediterranean Sea and the road to Europe. 
In the ancient world the land was thus a meeting-place 
of many of the chief lines of communication. 

Yet for a large part of the history of Israel these 
advantages were of httle service to the Hebrews. 
Through almost all the history a belt of foreign territory 
separated the people from the sea-coast. It was not 
till 144 B.r. that the port of Joppa passed into the pos- 
session of Israel. The way in which the sea is pictured 
throughout the OT as the symbol of a power hostile 
to God and to man (Is. I7i2ft'., Job 7i2, Ps. 93. etc.). 
shows how foreign this element was to the genius of 
the Israelites, though the northern tribes may have 
made some maritime ventures (Gen. 49i3). Moreover 
idealistic pictures, such as that of Jos. 21 43-44, which 
represent the invading tsribes as securing possession of 
the whole land, have to be corrected by the more sober 
records of the Book of Judges. There we see how the 
separate triljcs, after the death of Joshua, had to fight 
to secure their territory and were compelled to leave 
many of the stronger C'anaanitish cities miconquei-ed. 
In the end, besides the maritime cities of Phoenicia 
and Philistia, a strong line of fortresses — Taanach, 
Megiddo, Bethshan — secured to their former inhabi- 
tants the richest inland plain, the valley of the Kishon. 
Further south the strongholds of Ajalon, Gezer, and 
Jebus shut off almost completely the tribes of Judah 
and Benjamin from the rest of the Israelites. The 
mastei-s of these fortresses made communication dan- 
gerous (c/. Jg. 56f.). Not till the days of the monarchy 
was Israel able to enjoy the natural advantages of its 
country. Thus though the Israelites entered a land 
which, as the Amama letters show, was in the main 
route of a great trade between Egypt and Northern 
Syria and Babylonia, and though some of the fruits of 
that trade were amongst the prizes which they won 
(c/. Jos. 721, Dt. 610 f.), they themselves were driven off 



THE SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS OF ISRAEL 



111 



the main lines and were for a long time confined chiefly 
to agricultural and pastoral occirpations. 

Pastoral and Agricultural Life. — Tlie Btories of 
Genesis depict the ancestors of Israel as hving a simple 
pastoral life. The laws of the Book of the Covenant 
are directed to a people which has passed a little beyond 
this stage. Most of them refer to agricultural con- 
ditions, and none of them has to do with conditions of 
life in walled towns. We must think of scattered 
groups of famiUes and clans, settling down on the con- 
quered estates, hving the lives of shepherds and hus- 
bandmen. Pictures of the laborious life of the shep- 
herd, with the constant exposure to extremes of heat 
and cold, and the need of long night watclungs, are 
found in Gen. 3I40 (c/. 1 S. 1734ff., Ezek. 344fE.). The 
numbering of the cattle as they pass beneath the 
shepherd's rod (Lev. 2732, Ezek. 2O37), the gathering 
of the herds into the folds (Nu. 32 16), their defence 
against marauding wild beasts (Jer. 49i9), give 
gUmpses of the daily work and are used freely as 
symbols of religious truth. 

The year of the agriculturist was divided into the 
dry season, April to October, within which months fell 
all the harvests, and the wet season, October to April, 
marked by the early and the latter rains. Methods of 
cultivation have changed httle in the East up to the 
present day, and do not call for detailed notice. In 
Is. 2823-29 the simple art of the farmer is ascribed to 
the teacliing wisdom of God and made to illustrate the 
Divine dealings with men. There three distinct 
methods of threshing are mentioned. We have the 
beating with a flail (Jg. 611, Ru. 2i7) ; treatling -mith 
the feet of cattle (Dt. 2.54, Mic. 4i3) ; drawing a heavy 
wooden sledge, with sharp stones or iron spikes fixed 
beneath it, or a wagon with sharp-edged wheels, over 
the grain. 

The cultivation of the vine was very general, some- 
times (c/. Is. 723-25), on mountainous lands over which 
the plough could not be drawn, which had to be pre- 
pared for sowing by the hoe or mattock. The mne- 
press consisted mostly of two troughs of different 
levels, often hewn out of the sohd rock (Is. 03). The 
trampling of the grapes, with the staining of the gar- 
ments of the treaders, affords the terrible figure of 
Is. 632. The various processes in the maldng of wine 
may be illustrated by a few references. The freslily 
expressed grape juice might be drunk at once before 
fermentation began. In this sense the vats are said 
to overflow with " new wine " or " must " (.11. 224). 
Before wine, properly so called, was made, it was 
drawn off from the vats and left for the lees to settle. 
This process was repeated several times, with succes- 
sive pourings from vessel to vessel, until the colour and 
botly was sufficiently fixed. The product was then 
" wine on the lees well refined " (Is. 256). If, on the 
other hand, it was left standing too long on the lees it 
became thick and sjTupy, lacking the sparkle of the 
better wines, and soon turning bad. It is from this 
that the metaphor of Jer. 48ii, Zeph. I12, is derived. 
Wine left undisturbed in this way took tlie coarser taste 
and smell of the lees, just as Moab's freedom from dis- 
cipline had confirmed it in its ancient faults, and the men 
of Jerusalem had settled down in sloth and unbelief. 

Many references show how the social life of the 
people found its most joyous expression in celebrating 
the first-fruits of flock, herd, and field, and in rejoicing 
over the successive harvests of com, fruit, oil and wine. 
(For the rehgious significance of these feasts see pp. 
98, 101-104.) 

Trades. — With the growth of city life came the 
development of the ordinary trades. The Bedouins 



of to-day practise no trades but those of the smith and 
the worker in leather. This was probably the case in 
the early days of Israel, where all that was needful for 
the clothing of the family and for the simple furniture 
of the house was made at home (r.j. IS. 2iq, and much 
later Pr. 31i3ff.). But with the growth of larger com- 
munities the division of labour became necessary. In 
the fashion common in the East separate streets were 
occupied by workers in one trade, cf. " the bakers' 
street ' ' in Jer. 372 1 . The Chronicler speaks of locaUties 
that were the seat of special trades, such as " the 
valley of craftsmen," the workers in fine linen of Beth 
Ashbea, the potters of Netaim and Gederah (1 Ch. 4i4, 
21,23). In Nell. 38 we find references to families of 
goldsmiths and apothecaries, or dealers in perfumes. 
The earlier prophetic references to trade are not sym- 
pathetic, and the besetting sins of business are often 
castigated (Am. 26, 4i, 84ff., jMic. 2f., etc.). Through 
such passages there breathes the regret for the older 
and simpler hfe. But Isaiah's picture of Tyre (23) 
looks forward to the day when the gain of her com- 
merce shall be consecrated to Yahweh. In later 
Judaism it was counted part of the duty of every 
father to teach his son a trade. 

Commerce. — Foreign trade in Israel hardly began 
until the victories of David over Phihstia, Moab, 
Ammon and Edom gave him the command of the 
trade-routes to the south and cast, and made com- 
mercial intercourse with Tyre possible (2 S. 5iif,), 
Under Solomon a great extension took place. Solomon 
kept control of the caravan route leading through 
Edom to Elath, the modern Akaba, on the NE. arm of 
the Red Sea. From there his na.v\-, manned by Phoe- 
nician sailors, sailed to Ophir, situated most likely in 
Eastern Arabia on the shores of the Persian Gulf. 
With Sheba, known in later days as the seat of a com- 
mercial empire in the SW. of Arabia, he conducted a 
land trade. As the text of 1 K. IO28 stands he had an 
extensive trade in horses with Egypt. But it is pro- 
bable that the real seat of this trade lay far north, in 
Cappadocia and Cilicia. As exports we read of honey, 
balm, wheat, and oil to Phoenicia (1 K 5ii, Ezek. 27i7); 
as well as spice, myrrh, nuts, and almonds to Esrypt 
(Gen. 3725, 43ii). The long list of imports in 1 K. 10 
10-25 includes gold, silver, precious stones, timber, 
ivcry, horses and mules, apes and peacocks, and 
armour. There seems so great a disparity between the 
value of the imports and exports that other sources for 
Solomon's wealth must be sought. It seems clear that 
behind the confused text of 1 K. IO15 there hes an 
allusion to a tariff levied on the commerce carried on 
in Solomon's sphere of influence. He would derive a 
large income from custom dues imposed on the transit 
trade between Arabia and the Levant. Along these 
routes he possessed store-cities, arsenals containing 
materials of war, as well as magazines of provisions 
and emporia of trade (1 K. 919). It is an interesting 
question how far the people as a whole participated in 
this trade, and how far it remained a royal preroga- 
tive. The fact that " Canaanite " or " "Phoenician " 
means " trader" in Job 416, Pr. 3I24, and that in 
Ho3. 127, Zeph. In, "Canaan" is used for "the 
merchant jwople," suggests that the early trade of 
Israel was largely carried on by Phoenicians, who 
would be the paid serv-ants of the king. But from 
1 K. 2O34 we learn that Ahab secured for his subjects 
trading rights in Damascus. After Solomon's death 
the growing power of Syria, as well as the divisions 
between Israel and Judah, caused a great shrinkage of 
foreign trade. Judah soon lost the route to the Red 
Sea, though Jehoshaphat made a fruitless attempt to 



112 



THE SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS OP ISRAEL 



renow the trade with Ophir (1 K. 2248). Later, after 
tlie conquests of Jeroboam II, trade revived again. 
Isaiah draws many pictiin-s of the busy commercial life 
in Judah. " Tlicy strike hands with the children of 
strangci-s," and the land is full of foreign products 
(26f.); ships of Tarshish are mentioned {2i6) ; while 
the caravans that traftk-ked with Egypt are scathingly 
described (."WfS). It seems plain that, by this time the 
community as a whole had become a trading one. 
Many social consequences resulted, notablj' the break- 
ing up of many of the old ancestral estates, and the 
replacement of the farmers by men who had grown rich 
through trade (Is. 58fF.). The depopulation of rural 
districts, so often the result of a new industrialism, is 
bitterly reproved by the prophets. 

A sign of this industrial progress is furnished by the 
regulations of the Deuteronomic Code with regard to 
the taking of interest. The Book of the Covenant had 
forbidden the taking of interest on money lent to the 
poor (Ex. 2225). The thought of money lent for com- 
mercial purposes was not present. In Dt. 23ig the 
taking of interest from a brother Israelite is still for- 
bidden, but it is now permitted in the case of a foreigner. 
The Bedouins of the present day slill refrain from taking 
interest from a countiyman. The taking of interest 
had been long familiar in the East, and is mentioned in 
the Code of Hammurabi (§§ 49, 50, 100), but though 
permitted under restrictions it seems always to have 
been against the ideal conscience of Israel. It is men- 
tioned with disapproval in Ezek. 188,i3,i7, 22i2. 
Pr. 288, Ps. 155. The law of Dt. opened the door to 
a practice which never obtained general approval, at 
least until much later times. The law of Dt. (15if.) 
as to the cancelling of debts in the " year of release " 
refers to charitable loans, not lendings for business 
purposes. When, later, this law was held to refer also 
to loans contracted in commerce, it was found to be 
impracticable, and devices for evading its provisions 
were invented. 

During the Babylonian Exile the Jews came into con- 
tact with a system cf banking and of partnerships for 
trading purposes held to be the origin of oar modern 
commercial system. Each partner contributed his share 
of capital to the association. The exiles were coun- 
selled by Jeremiah to take their share in the life of the 
land to which they had been carried (294fi.), and must 
have become acquainted with these customs. Yet it 
is plain from the Priestly Code that its compilers had 
little sympathy with or understanding cf such mctlKds. 
They fall back on the old ideal of a simple agricultural 
community, and the laws concerning property show 
little variation from those of the earliest Code. The 
depressed and poverty-stricken conditions at Jeru- 
salem are reflected in the prophecies of Haggai and 
Zcchariah, though Haggai clings to the hope of the 
day when the wealth of the nations will be poured into 
the Temple (27). The later chapters of Zech. hope for 
the time when foreign traders will be banished for ever 
from the holy city (142i). This spirit, the product of 
the new legalism, Tiiust have seriously hindered any 
development of trade in Judah. 

The growth of the commercial instincts which have 
given the Jewish race its preponderating influence in 
the trade of the world must be sought in the Disper- 
sion, at Alexandria and Antioch and elsewhere. 
Numerous indications fif this may be found in Ecclus. 
and Josephus, but they fall outside the limits of the OT. 

A word may bo added as to the great market-fairs 
held at the chief sanctuaries in ccmjunction with the 
religious festivals. It was probably as a trader in 
wool that AmoB was present at Bethel when his pro- 



phetic activity began (Am. 7io ff.). From the blessing 
on Zebulun and Issachar (Dt. 33i8f.), it appears that 
these northern tribes held sacrificial feasts at which 
many foreigners were present. There the products of 
fishing and sea-borne commerce, and possibly glass 
from the sand about 'Akko were offered for sale. 



0. THE COMMUNITY 

Law and Justice. — The early beginnings of govern- 
ment hn ve been traced under the section on the Family. 
With the gathering of families into clans and tribes, 
and during settled life in Palestine, more detailed 
arrangements became necessary. In the story of the 
desert wanderings (Ex. I813-27, Dt. Ii5f.)> Moses is 
said to have organised the people for judicial purposes 
under capable men of approved character. No trace 
of this arrangement appears in later days. On the other 
hand " the elders" (Ex. 3i6*), either heads of families 
or the leading inhabitants of a particular district or 
city, appear in almost every period of the histoiy. In 
Dt. 19i2 they constitute the local authority charged 
to adminster the law in a case of murder ; in 1 S. 4 
they act on behalf of the people in a time of national 
danger ; in 2 .S. 03 they offer the crown to David ; in 
I K. 2l8ff. the elders of Je7reel act on behalf of Jezebel 
and inflict and carry out the sentence on Naboth. No 
indications are given as to the mode of their appoint- 
ment. Their authority was moral rather than legal. 
Their executive powers may be illustrated from Dt. 21 
iff., 22i5ff. The justice of their actions might be 
affirmed in the presence of the priests, and in the 
death-penalty the whole communitj"- united to carry 
out the sentence (Dt. I77). 

In the period of the " Judges " we are presented 
with a picture of a series of leadere ruling with an 
authority which was personal, and not a matter of 
descent or family influence. Amongst them appears 
Deborah the prophetess, who sat beneath a palm tree 
and decided the causes of the people in accordance 
with the common law of Israel (Jg. 45). The position 
of Samuel is similar (1 S. Tisff.). His authority as 
representative of Y'ahweh is spoken of as acknow- 
ledged by the people as a whole. 

According to 2 Ch. 194-ii Jehoshaphat is said to 
have organised a judicial system throughout Judah, 
with a court of appeal at Jerusalem for both civil and 
ecclesiastical cases. It is possible that this passage 
reflects the developed practice of post-exilic times, but 
the mention of " judges " amongst the pillars of the 
state in Is. 32, as well as the references in Mic. 73, 
Zeph. 33, shows that some judicial system had gro\m 
up. In Ezr. 725, IO14, we find professional judges 
drawn from the ranks of the city ciders. Later, during 
the Greek and Roman periods, there were local courts 
beside the council of the elders. The prmcdvre of the 
courts was simple. They might meet in the open 
(Jg. 45), or at the gate of the eitj', the common place 
for tran-sacting business or administering justice (Dt. 21 
19, Am. 512,15). Two witnesses were required for 
confirmation of a charge (Dt. 176, I913). In the 
absence of witnesses the accused wa.s put on his oath 
(Ex. 227-11). One case of trial by ordeal is named, 
that of a wife accused of adulters' (Nu. 5iif ). The 
oldest principle of pimishment is the lex talionis, " eye 
for eye, tooth for tooth " (Ex. 21 24). This was largely 
modified by a system of monetary compensation. In 
some instances (Ex. 2I30) the common Oriental custom 
was followed whereby the consent of the injured parties 
was required before a fine could bo accepted in lieu of 
the severer penalty. In other cases the amount of the 



THE SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS OF ISRAEL 



113 



fine was fixed (Ex. 2I32, Dt. 2219,29). No money 
payment was allowed to cover the guilt of wiKul 
murder. The duty of blood revenge was held sacred 
fron\ the most ancient times ((icn. O^f.). Even the 
later Codes recognise the place and duty of the avenger 
of blood (Dt. 19i-i3, Nu. 35i6-2i). In practice this 
was modified by the right of asylum, at first at any 
sanctuary (Ex, 2I14), and later at the " cities of refuge." 
Such a story as 2 S. 144ff. shows that when regular 
tribunals began to be established they took blood ven- 
geance under their control. But the story of the exe- 
cution of Saul's descendants in 2 S. 21 shows how the 
thought of blood revenge as a sacred religious duty 
lingered on, and how, before the individual had become 
distinguished from his family, this might bring disaster 
to innocent men. On the other hand the clear dis- 
tinction drawn between wilful and accidental homicide 
shows how the sense of right prevailed over the okler 
thought of " blood for blood " without discrimination. 

Other penalties such as stripes (Dt. 25^), imprison- 
ment (Jer, 37i5ft"., etc.), and the stocks (Jer. 2O2), do 
not call for detailed notice. The reason given in Dt. 
for the limitation of the number of strokes to forty is 
noteworthy. No punishment was to be inflicted which 
would degrade or destroy the manhood of the offender 
(253). The formula " that soul shall be cut off from 
Israel," which occurs very frequently in P., appears to 
mean excommunication, combined with a threat of 
Divine interposition to root out the wrong-doer. In 
Ezr. 10s, where the phrase is not used but the case is 
similar, it means both confiscation of propei-ty and 
social and religious outlawry. 

Of legal forms the simplest that is recorded is that 
where the seller gives his shoe to the buyer in token of 
his divesting himself of the right of ownership (Ru. 4/; 
cf. Ps. GOe). In Jer. 326ff. we have the record of a 
formal deed of sale. Parallels from Babylonian 
sources make it probable that the deed was first written 
and signed, then executed in duplicate on the envelope 
or outer covering in which the original deed was en- 
closed, and then sealed in the presence of witnesses and 
deposited in safe custody. In this case the deed was 
placed in an earthen vessel, as was frequently the case 
with Babylonian and Assyrian deeds. 

The " bill of divorcement " has been already referred 
to. 

The Monarchy. — The founding of the monarchy 
marks so clearly the dividing line between the new 
Israel and the old that it is not surprising that widely 
differing views were taken as to its value. According 
to the old ideal Yahwch was the only King and the 
priests His highest eai+hly representatives. In times 
of national need a Judge would be raised up to rally 
and lead the armies. But when his special task was 
over there was no thought that his office was heredi- 
tary. When the kingship was offered to Gideon he 
replied, " I will not rule over you, neither shall my 
son rule over you : Yahweh shall rule over you " 
(Jg. 822f.). From this standpoint the creation of the 
Idngdom was regarded as an act of apostasy and a 
sinful imitation of heathen nations (1 S. 84ff.). On 
the other hand the king was regarded as " the Lord's 
anointed ' and his person deemed sacrosanct and in- 
violate (1 S. 246.10). This latter view persists in the 
hopes that attached to the house of David (2 S. 7i2) ; 
in the prophetic pictures of the King-Messiah (Is. 9off., 
Zech. 99, etc) ; and in Pss, such as 2, 89i9ff., 110, On 
the other hand in Deutero-Isaiah's visions of the future 
there is no room for an earthly king ; Yahweh is the 
only Saviour. Similarly in Ezek. 40-48 the secular 
head is the " Prince," whoso prerogatives are strictly 



limited (457ff., 46i6ff.), his main duties being to make 
due provision for the sacrifices. The Prince is far 
removed from the earlier king. In the Priestly Code 
the high-priest is the supreme head of the community. 
Not till the reign of Simon the priest-king (143-135 B.C.) 
did these two streams of thought really unite, and even 
then the union was soon broken by the dissensions of 
the first century B.C. 

The monarchy once established was regarded as 
hereditary, in strong contrast with the view taken of 
the Judges. Ishbosheth naturally succeeded his father 
Saul (2 S. 2sf.). David was appointed king not so 
much by the free ohcice of the people as from the belief 
that God had taken away the kingdom from Saul's 
house and bestowed it on David's. Two sons of David, 
Adonijah and Solomon, sought to succeed him. Later 
dynastic changes, dispossessing the ruling house, were 
brought about by prophetic influence, as by Abijah 
(1 K. Il29ff.), and Elisha (2 K. Oiff.). Still the broken 
annals of Northern Israel show the force of the popular 
will. If the kingship was never elective it never was 
able to become completely despotic. 

Of royal revenues we read nothing during the simple 
rale of Saul. IJnder David (2 S. 2O24) an officer is 
mentioned as over the labour-gangs (RV " tribute"); 
pointing to the system of forced labour universally 
employed in the East for pubUc works. Solomon 
largely extended this system (1 K. 9i5ff.), and in addi- 
tion divided the land into twelve administrative dis- 
tricts from which monthly supplies were exacted for 
the court. Besides the 'trade dues (p. Ill), horses 
and chariots were Solomon's monopoly (1 K. 102 8fif.). 
The picture of kingly rule in 1 S. 8 speaks of -crown 
lands (12,14; cf. 1 Ch. 2725ff.), and of tithes both on 
produce and flocks (15,17). Under special stress 
Jehoiakim is said to have imposed a property tax 
(2 K. 2335). Amos (7i) speaks of " the king's mow- 
ings," probably a contribution in kind for the royal 
horses. The complaints of the people to Rehoboam 
(1 K. 124), show how bitterly the oppressive imposts 
and forced services were resented. 

Around the king, from the time of David onwards, 
there grew up a group of state officials. The " scribe " 
was responsible for the royal correspondence, the 
keeping cf records, and the preparation of state 
documents. The " recorder " or remembrancer was 
charged to bring important matters of state to tho 
notice of the king. He may have represented the 
Grand Vizier of modern times. The officer " over 
ihe household" (1 K. 46), entrusted with the key of 
the palace (Is. 222 2), may be called High Chamberlain 
or Steward. The title of " king's servant " (2 K. 22i2) 
has been found on an ancient Hebrew seal, and may 
stand for a distinct office. The multiplication of these 
offices created a new aristocracy, diminishing the im- 
portance of the older heads of famiUes, and so by 
severing the ruling classes from the soil accentuated 
the social distinctions. It also gave opportunity for 
the bribery and oppression so constantly stigmatised 
bj' the prophets. Thus the monarchy tended increai- 
iiigly to repress the growth of the free life of the indi- 
vidual Israelite. Against this must be set the services 
which it rendered in enabling the nation to resist 
foreign invasioji. At the same time the way in which 
the ambitions arul disputes of successive kings iuvolved 
Israel in woild politics led in the long run to the over- 
throw of the State. The protests of Isaiah against the 
alliances with Assyria a!id Egypt (7, 31), show how 
the insight of the prophets perceived the consequeucas 
of such intrigues. 

Military Service. — In ancient days every man be- 



114 



THE SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS OF ISRAEL 



camo a soldier on occasion, and the head of a family 
could muster his whole household aa a fighting force 
(Gen. 14i4ff.)- I" the story of the Conquest of Canaan 
every tribesman took his place in the ranks. After 
the settlement and the dispersion of the tribes succes- 
sive leaders rallied what forces they could to their 
standards ; so Barak (Jg. 4io ff.). In the days of Saul, 
after the deliverance of Jabesh-gilcad, we find the first 
beginnings of a standing army. Three thousand men 
were selected as a pennancnt national guaitl, and 
stationed in positions especially open to Philistine 
attack (1 S. 132). We now read of military officers, 
amongst whom was David (1 S. I813). But every 
man capable of bearing arms was still counted as a 
soldier. 

David, as king, carried the organisation further. 
His personal bo<lyguard of six hundred men, beginning 
from the company of refugees who had gathered round 
him at AduUam, was supplemented bj' a force of foreign 
mercenaries, ' Chercthites and Pelethites " (2 S. 818), 
probably Cretans and Philistines. Joab now appears 
as holder of a new office, that of commander-in-chief 
(ICh. 116). The" Carites " in 2 K. 11 4 arc another body 
of mercenaries acting aa the royal hfcguard, keeping 
the palace and the Temple. Still the old idea of a 
national militia was never abandoned and appears in 
P (Nu. 26if). Priests and Ix-vites were exempted from 
military service (Nu. 233). The humane law of Dt. 
exempts from service in any particular campaign men 
newly married or betrothed, or tiioso who were just 
entering into the possession of a new house or estate 
(Dt. 245, 2O5-8). It is probable that Am. 63 refers to 
a system which grew up during the later monarchy, 
whereby each township was required to furnish its 
specified quota of men to the national army. 

Tlie forces were di\adc(l into light-armed and heavy- 
armed infantry. According to the Chronicler (1 Oh. 



840, 122), the Benjamites were traditionally the picked 
troops amongst the former, armed with bows and slings 
(cf. Jg. 2O16). Amongst the latter the men of Judah, 
Gad, and Naphtali arc specially named, armed with 
spear and shield (1 Ch. 128,24,34). Cavalry and war- 
chariots are named as fonning part of the Egyptian 
army (Ex. 14f)ff.), also amongst the Canaanites (Jos. 17 
16, etc), and the Philistines (2 S. l6). The Israelites 
do not appear to have possessed them earlier than the 
days of Solomon ( 1 K. Oig). Afterwards they formed a 
regular part of the Israelite army (1 K. I69, Is. 27, etc.). 
War wa.s regarded in ancient times as a holy act, 
and Yahwehi was " the God of the armies of Israel " 
(1 S.I745) ; the wars of Israel were His wars (1 S. 2028). 
Hence follows the practice of consulting the sacred 
oracle as to the direction of a campaign (1 S. I437, etc.). 
Similarly the use of the phiase ' sanctify war " (Jer. 
64, Jl. 39), and the stringent directions as to the purity 
of the camp (Dt. 23io-i2), reflect the same thought. 
The practice of the " ban " (p. 99. Dt. 234*, Jos. 6i7ff.*, 
Jg. I17*, 1 S. I03) wherein the whole of the spoil 
belonged to Yahweh and must be devoted as a sacrifice 
to Him, finds its explanation here. With the deepening 
of the ethical sense the feehng of the horrors of war was 
intensified. Ruthlcssness in war is condemned by the 
prophets (Am. 13,11,13). The callousness of the war- 
lords of Assyria roused the indignation of Habakkuk. 
War was still regarded as Yahweh's instrument of 
punishment, but beyond the strife hope looked forward 
to the establishment of perpetual peace (Is. Osff., 24, 
Ps. 469). 

Literature. — Mackie, Bible Manners and Customs* ; 
■V^Tiitchousc, .4 Primer of Hebrew Antiquities ; Cruick- 
shank, The Bible in the Light of Aniiquity ; Thomson, 
The Land ' and the Book ; Benzinger, Hebraische 
Archdologie * / Nowack, Lehrbuch der Hebrdischcn 
Archaologie. Also many articles in EBi., HDB, HSDB. 



WEIGHTS, MEASURES, MONEY, AND TIME 

Bt Propessok a. E. S. KENNEDY, D.D. 





I. Measures of Length 






Name. 


Finger- 
breadth. 


Hand- 
breadth. 


Span. 


Cubit. 


Reed. 


Value 

ill 
Inches. 


Finger-breadth 
Hand-breadth 
Spaa 
Cubit . 
Reed . 


1 
4 
12 
24 
144 


1 
3 
6 
36 


i 

2 
12 


6 


1 


•733 

2-93 

8-8 

17-6 

105-6 



Mankind's earliest measures of length were those of 
Nature's own providing — the finger, hand, foot, etc. 
Thus the widespread unit called the cubit is the length 
of the forearm from the elbow to the tip of the middle 
finger. It was reckoned by the ancients as one-fourth 
of a man's height, which again was equal to hia 
"stretch" (see "fathom" below). In Dt. 3ii this 
" natural " cubit is termed " the cubit of a man." 
Originally it was probably identical with the corre- 
sponding ■' natural " cubit of the Egyptians (c. 17*7 in.), 
and was divided into 6 hand-breadths or palms, each 
of 4 finger-breadths or digits. 

Measurements of the remains of Herodian and pre- 
Herodian architecture in Jerusalem yield a cubit of 
17-6 in. (for detaik see Exp. Times, xx. [190&-9], 24ff.), 
which is the value adopted in the table above. For 
rough calculations it may be reckoned at 1^ feet. 
This result is in close agreement with that obtained 
from the Siloam aqueduct, the length of which is 
given in the well-known inscription as, in round 
numbers, 1200 cubits. The actual measured length is 
approximately 1750 ft., or 1193 of the cubit of 17-6 in. 

That the Jewish cubit in common use in NT times 
cannot have differed much from the corresponding 
Graeco-Roman measure (c. 17 J^ in.) is evident from a 
comparison of Ac. I12 with Josephus, Ant. XIX, 
xvii. 6. In the former passage the distance of the 
Mount of OUves from Jerusalem is given aa " a sabbath 
day's journey," which was 2000 Jewish cubits (c. 980 
yds.), in the latter afl 5 stadia (see below), each of 
400 Greek cubits. 

In addition to the " natural " cubit of 17-7 in. the 
Egyptians used the " royal '' cubit of 20-63 in., which 
was Jtbs of the other. This cubit has hitherto been 
recognised in the so-called " cubit of Ezekiel," which, 
on the basis of Ezek. 4O5, 43i3, is reckoned as contain- 
ing seven handbreadths, say 20"53 in. This longer 
cubit again is usually identified with " the former 
measure " in terms of which the Temple of Solomon 
was built (2 Ch. 33). But there are textual and 
archaeological difliculties in this, the generally accepted, 
view, and it is safer to abide meanwhile by the above 
results obtained from actual measurements. It is 
probable, however, that new measures, as well aa new 
weights (see below), were introduced in the Persian 
period, and the Persian cubit of c. 20*7 in. may still 



have been in official use in the time of the Chronicler, 
c. 300 B.C. In this case the expression " former 
measure " would refer to the shorter " natural " cubit 
of Deuteronomy and the Siloam inscription. 

In the NT " fathom " and " furlong " represent the 
Greek orguia (ht. " stretch ") and the popular stadion, 
the former 6 and the latter 600 Greek ft., say 5 ft. 
10 in. and 194 yds. respectively of our measures. The 
" mile " of Mt. 541 is the Pvoman milk fassuum, or 
1000 double paces, equal to 1618 yds. 

II. Measures of Capacity 



Name. 


Log 


Kab 


Hin 


Seab 


«■ 


Cor 
(homer) 


Later Vahie 
in PiuU. 


Log . . 
Kab . 
Hin . 
Scah . 
Ephah . 
Bath. 
Cor (homer) 


1 
4 

12 
24 
72 
72 

720 


i 

6 

18 

180 


i 

6 
60 


1 
3 

30 


10 




1 

12 di galls.) 
24 di pecks) 
72 (14 bush.) 
72 (9 galls.) 
720 dU bush. 
90 galls.) 



115 



The names and mutual relations of the Hebrew 
measures of capacity are known from the OT and 
later Jewish writings, but it is as yet impossible to 
offer more than an approximate estimate of their 
actual values in terms of our imperial measures. This 
is specially true of early times ; for NT times we have 
the e^ndence of Josephus, who repeatedly gives the 
admittedly only apj)roximate values of the Jewish 
measures in terms of the Gr;T3Co-Roman measures of 
his day. Li recent year? finds of actual measures in 
Jerusalem have tended, in the main, to confirm the 
results thus obtained (see Exp. Times, xxiv. [1913], 
293ff.), but it is almost certain that the measures were 
originally somewhat smaller — the larger ones consider- 
ably smaller — than is represented in the table. 

Of the measures there entered the log, hin, and bath 
are in the OT exclusively hquid measures, while the 
kab, seah, ephah — the equivalent of the bath — and 
homer are exclusively dry measures. The cor, of the 
same value as the homer, is mostly used as a dry 
measure, but once as a measure of oil (Ezek. 4014). 
Traces are also found of a decimal system, of which 
the lowest member is the omer, defined as " the tenth 
part of the ephah "' (Ex. I636), i.e. c. 1\ pints, the 
ephah in turn being ^ of the homer (Ezek. I.e.). 

The values in the table are those derived from 
Josephus, who bases his equations on the identity of 
the Hebrew unit, the log, with the xestes of the Attic, 
and the aextarius of the Roman measures. As the 
estimated values of these vary from 0-96 to l<t09 of a 
pint, the log of NT times may for all practical piirpo.sea 
be reckoned as the equivalent of our pint. CDiisequently 
the seah, the " measure " of the parable (Mt. 4,333, 



116 



WEIGHTS, MEASURES, MONEY, AND TIME 



Lk. 132 1 ), as IJ i)eckfl, and the epliali an roughly our 
imperial bushel, while it-s li(iiiid counterpart, the bath, 
may be set down aa 9 gallons, the approximate value 
al»o of the Greek melretes, the " firkin " of Jn. 26. 

III. Weights 

The weights used by the Hebrews were mostly of 
some hard polishonl stone, such as hematite or quartz- 
ite, and were of three denominations, the shekel, 
the mina, and the talent. The mina contained 50 
shekels, and the talent (50 minas or 3000 shekels. This 
arrangement is of Babylonian origin, a.s are the names 
shekel (Bab. shiklu) and mina (Heb. vianth, Bab. 
manu). In Babylonia, however, 60 shekels went to 
the ordinary triide mina, which originally weighed 
about 15,100 grains (2^ lb. avoir; nearly) on the so- 
called "heavy" standard, and half that amount on 
the " hght " standard, with corresponding shekels 
of 252 and 126 grains respectively. The excavation 
of numerous sites in Palestine has brought to light 
hundreds of weights belonging to a variety of systems. 
One of the oldest is attested by a series of small 
weights, doubtless used in weighing the precious 
metals, with inscriptions in old Hebrew letters. The 
shekel or unit weighed about 160 grs., and it is very 
probable that the Egyptian tribute of- the vassal- 
states of Syria and Palestine was paid on this standard 
(HDB iv. '904f.). 

The standard in general use, however, among the 
Hebrews, from the earUest to the latest times, was 
that known as the Phoenician. Its shekel is reckoned 
at 224 grs., but the average weight of the existing 
ooins is nearer 218 grs., the weight of a British half- 
crown. It is " the shekel of the sanctuary " (more 
correctly "the sacred shekel") of the Pentateuch, 
by which gold, silver, and apparently all merchandise 
were to be weighed (Lev. 2725).^ The values of these 
denominations are shown in the following table : 

TuE Hebrew-Phoenician Weight System 



Name. 


Shekel. 


Mina. 


Talent. 


Value. 1 


(«)In 
Grams. 


(6) Avoird. 
Weight. 


Shekel . 
Mina 
Talent . 


1 

50 

3,000 


i 

60 


V 


224 
11.200 
672,000 


i oz. nearly 
15 lb. 
961b. 



In NT times this system was adjusted to the Roman 
official system in sueh a way that the old Hebrew 
shekel — now termed sda, and rcducctl to 210 grs. — 
was reckoned to contain 4 drachms or denarius weights 
{zuzim), while the light mina of 50 light " shekels " 
(half the original shekel or seUi) was equated with the 
Roman libra or pound of 5053 grs. (Jn. I23, I939). 
The original (heavy) talent, now c. 631,560 grs. and 
equal to two light talents, weighed exactly 12,000 
denarius-drachms and 125 Roman pounds (see further 
under " Money " ImjIow). 

To what extent the Babylonian weight-standard was 
in use in Palestine caimot be a.scortaine<l. The current 
view that the Hebrew gold shekel was the Babylonian 
shekel of 252 grs. is baed on a niisinterprctatif)n of a 
passage of Joscphus (see below). In a slightly modified 
form, however, the Babylonian standard was in oflicial 
use in the early {wst-exilic jxriod, while Palestine 

1 The •• per?h " of this pasaase Is the equivalent of the Greek 
obol. i of the drachm. 



formed part of the Persian empire. In the late gloss 
2 S. 1426, the " 200 shekels after the king's weight " 
are Babylono-Persian shekels of 126-130 grs. 

When the Jews passed under the rule of the Seleucid 
kings of Syria, the Attic weight-system, based on a 
drachm of originally 67 grs., came into use (see below). 
The Attic commercial standard, best known as the 
.^ginetan, with a drachm of originally 100 grs., more 
or less, was probably in use in Palestine throughout 
the whole historical period. Specimens of inscribed 
weights on all these standards have recently come to 
light (see Ex-p. Times, xxiv. [Aug. and Sept., 1913]). 



IV. Money 

All money transactions in the pre-exilic period were 
carried through by means of the balance, coined money 
being unknown until the Persian period. Silver was 
the ordinary medium of exchange. By what standard 
or standards it was weighed in earlier times cannot be 
affirmed with certainty, but the probability is all in 
favour of the Phoenician standard set forth above. 
The standard for transactions in gold is even more 
uncertain.^ The Priests' Code certainly demands the 
standard of the " sacred " or Phoenician shekel for 
gold as for silver (Lev. 2725). On the assumption that 
the gold shekel was reckoned for convenience as worth 
14 silver shekels of the same weight we get the following 
approximate values : 



Denomination. 


Silver. 


Gold. 


1 Shekel (220-224 grains) . 
1 Mina (50 shekels) . 
1 Talent (60 minas) 


£ «. d. 

2 9 

6 17 6 

41-J 10 


£ «. d. 

1 18 6 

96 5 

5,775 



The first coins to circulate in Palestine were : («) the 
light gold shekel, or daric, of Darius Hystaspis, weigh- 
ing 130 grs., and therefore worth rather more than 
21 shilhngs, and (6) the silver half-shekel of 86-87 grs., 
in value ^^ of the daric. Although tenned by Greek 
writers a siglos, this silver coin was njaUy half of the 
true Persian silver shekel of 173'3 grs.'(Neh. 5i5), 
50 of which went to the mina. The latter is the 
" pound '■ — more nearly 1} lb. avoir. — of the entries 
in Ezr. 260, Neh. 7; if. 

Alongside of the Persian coinage the contemporary 
silver shekels or tetradrachms (c. 220 grs.) of the 
Phoenician cities, of Tyre especially, were also from 
this time onwards, until the first century of our era, 
in circulation among the Jews. Under the Ptolemies 
Egyptian money circulated freely since it was also on 
the Phoenician standard. In pii.ssing under the nile 
of the Seleucids (198 B.C.), the Jews became familiar 
with their silver currency on the Attic standard, based 
on the drachm, which at this period weighed c. 63 grs., 
and was worth about 1(W. ; 100 drachms went to the 
mina, and 60(X) U) the silver talent (c. £250). The 
numerous sums of money in the two books of Maccabees 
are to bo calculated on this basis. From Joscphus' 
account of the revenues of Herod, and similar entries, 
it appears that a silver talent of the concurrent 

1 The view hitherto current (nee ITDR ill. 419. EBi iv. col. 4444). 
haaii\ en Josephiis. Aiii. XIV. vll. 1. tlmt the Hebrew gold aliekel 
waa identical witli the hea\-y Habyloiiliin shekel of 252 urs., must. In 
the writer's opinion, be Riven up. The Kold niiriii wlilch Josephus 
here reprcsentfl as equal to 2* Konian juiunds is the inliia of the 
syncretic weight system of hte day. as explained al>ove. according 
to which the talent wna eqail to 125 Kouan i>ounda (see further 
below). 



WEIGHTS, MEASURES, MONEY, AND TIME 



117 



Phoenician issues was reckoned as the equivalent of 
10,000 Seleucid-Attic drachms. 

Under Simon Maccabacus the Jews first began to 
coin copper money, for the so-called " Maccabaean " 
silver shekels really belong to the years of the first 
revolt against the Romans (a.d. 66-70). This copper 
coinage was continued by the Hasmonean princes, by 
the Herods, and by the Roman procurators (see Hill, 
Brit. Mus. Cat., " Coins of Palestine '"). 

The coins circulating in Palestine in NT times were 
of several denominations and of varied provenance. 
The only gold coin was the aureus of the Roman 
emperors, at this time practically equivalent to our 
sovereign. It was equal to 25 of the popular silver 
coin, the denarius, the " penny " of our versions 
(Mt. 2O2, 2219, etc.) and worth about 9^Z. In ordinary 
usage it was accepted as the equivalent of i\\e drachm 
(Lk. 158, " piece of money," Ac. I919). From Tyre 
came shekels, or tetradrachms, on the old standard, 
by which alone, as the " sacred " shekel, the Temple 
dues could be paid, and of which 30 " pieces " were 
the price of our Lord's betrayal (c/. Mt. I724-27). 

Of copper coins we find in the gospels (a) the 
assarion (Mt. IO29, Lk. 126), worth about f<Z., (h) the 
kodrantes, the Roman qundrans (Mt. 526), worth about 
■Jrf. — both are rendered " farthing " in our versions — 
and (c) the lepton, the widow's " mite " (Mk. I242, 
Lk. 21 2), worth about ^\d. 

In the gospels, finally, we have mention of larger 
Bums of money, the pound or mina (Lk. 19i3ff.) and 
the talent (Mt. I824). The mina was now the equivalent 
of 100 denarii, or 4 aurei, say £4 sterhng. The silver 
talent of 60 minas, or 6000 denarii, on the same light 
standard, would thus represent £240 (so RVm., Mt. 
I824). Jfosephus, however, as we have seen, reckons 
with a talent, on the heavy standard, of 10,000 
Seleucid-Attic drachms, equivalent to 12,000 of the 
lowered denarius-drachms of his day, which represent 
a sum of nearly £480. The value, at the British mint 
price, of the corresponding gold talent, taken as equal 
to 125 Roman pounds (see above), works out at £5124. 
In all such equations of ancient money with our own 
it must be remembered that the real value of all the 
denominations, as tested by their purchasing power in 
the particular period under review, was several times 
greater than their nominal value as expressed in 
pounds, shillings, and pence. In our Lord's day a 
denarius (9^. ) was the wage of an agricultural labourer 
(Mt. 202ff.), who to-day commands four to six times 
as much. 

V. Divisions of Time. The Jewish Calendar 

The sun and the moon are the universal time 
measures, and were recognised as such by the Hebrews 
(Gen. I14). The measures thus provided are primarily 
the day, the month, and the year. 

1. The Day. — The day was the smallest definite 
measure of time in OT times, and was reckoned from 
sunset to sunset, a survival of the once predominant 
position of the moon among the Semites. The length 
of the day in Palestine, in the sense of the period of 
dayhght, varie<l with the seasons, ranging from about 
14^ hours at the summer to 9J hours at the winter 
solstice. In this sense the day was properly divided 
into three parts : morning, noontide, and evening. 
The night was similarly but more exactly divided into 
three watches, a term of mihtary origin (cf. Jg. Vig, 
"the middle watch"). In NT times the Roman 
division into four watches began to be introducetl 
(see Mk. I335). 



The division of the day into hours, numbered from 
sunrise, is also first met with in the NT. The hour 
was not a fixed quantity, but the twelfth part (Jn. 11 9) 
of the period 01 dayhght, varying, therefore, with the 
season from 70 to 50 minutes. 

2. The Month and the Week.— The Hebrew months 
were true lunar months or " moons," and began with 
the day at the beginning of which, soon after sunset, the 
new moon was first observed. The length of a lunation 
being 29 days, 12 hours and some minutes, the interval 
between one observation and anotlier was in some 
months 29 days, in others 30. By what method and 
by what authority the beginning of each month was 
determined in the pre-exilic period is unknown. In 
the first centuries of our era, however, and doubtless 
for some centuries previously, elaborate arrangements 
were made by the Sanhedrin for hearing and testing 
the witnesses claiming to have seen the new moon 
on the expiry of the 29th day. If it had not been 
seen on this, the evening and beginning of the .30th day, 
the following day was declared to be the first of the 
new month, since it was well known that no lunation 
period could exceed 30 days. 

In the OT the months are indicated in three ways : 
(a) By the old Canaanite names (known also from 
Phoenician inscriptions), of which, however, only four 
have been preserved in the OT. These are Abib, ht. 
the month of " ripening ears " — the Passover month 
corresponding to Nisan of the later noznenclature 
(Ex. 134, Dt. I61, etc.)— Ziv (1 K. 61,37), Ethanim 
{lb. 82), and Bui (ib. 638). (b) By numbers, the 
first, second, month, etc., begmning in spring with 
Nisan. (c) By adaptations of the Babylonian names, 
which appear in writings subsequent to the Exile (e.g. 
Neh. li, 2i, Est. 3/, 89, Zech. 7i). The following table 
gives these names as found in later Jewish writings, 
with the corresponding months of our calendar, be- 
ginning with the first month of the Babylonian year. 
The older Canaanite name is added in parentheses. 

The ^^ames of the Months of the Jewish Year 
Nisan (Abib) corresponding to March-April 



2. lyyar (Ziv) 




April-May 


3. Sivan 




, May-June 


4. Tammuz 




, June-July 


5. Ab 




, July-Aug. 


6. Elul 




, Aug.-Sept. 


7. Tishri (Ethanim) 


Sept.-Oct. 


8. Marcheshvan 


(Bui) 


Oct.-Nov. 


9. Kislev 




Nov.-Dec. 


10. Tebeth 




, Dec-Jan. 


11. Shebat 




Jan.-Feb. 


12. Adar 




Feb.-March 



The intercalary month was named Adar II, and 
always contained 29 days. 

The origin of the week of seven days is still obscure. 
Probably it originated in a division of the month 
corresponding to the four phases of the moon (see on 
Sabbath, pp. lOlf.). However this may be, from the 
earliest period of which we have record the week had 
already, among the Hebrews, become a measure of 
time independent alike of the month and of the year. 
The days of the week were known only by numbers 
with the exception of the seventh or Sabbath ; from 
the Greek period onwards, however, the sixth day 
began to be known as " the eve of the Sabbath " 
(Judith 86 and more definitely Mk. I542, RV " the 
Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath "). 

3. The Year.- The Jewish year is known as a 
lunisolar year from the fact that while, as we have 



118 



WEIGHTS. MEASURES, MONEY, AND TIME 



seen, the months were hu\ar months, tliese were 
periodically adjusted to the solar year. Whatever 
may have been the nature of the Hebrew year before 
the oniorgcnce in history of the Hebrew tribes, it is 
certain that, from the early nionarcliy onwards, the 
necessity for securing tiiat each of the three agricultural 
festivals should fall at the appropriate season com- 
pelled the adoption of some moans of adjusting the 
lunar months to the solar year. How this was done 
under the monarchy is unknown. When evidence 
becomes available — the earliest is found in the re- 
cently discovered Jewish papyri of the fifth century 
B.C. from Elephantine — it is seen that its adjust- 
ment proceeded on purely empirical hnes. ^Vhen, in 
the course of the month preceding Abib or NLsan of a 
particular year, it became app;irent that the barley 
harvest would not be ripe by the middle of the following 
month (see on Fea-'-.t of Unleavened Bread, pp. 102f.), 
an additional month was addetl to the year. The Pass- 
over month then began with the second following new 
moon. Each year, it appears, was considered, so to 
say, on its own merits, as opposed to the later system 
of intercalation, at fixed intervals, of three months in 
eight years, or, as in the official Jewish calendar of 
the present day, of seven months in nineteen years.i 
Assuming that " full " months of 30 days may have 
varied in number from four to eight, the length of the 
year will have varied from 352-356 days in ordinary 
years — the normal number of a " lunar year " being 
354 as in the Moslem calendar — to 381-385 days in 
years of thirteen months. 

There is a decided cleavage of opinion as to whether 
the Hebrew year began in spring on the first of Abib 
(Nisan), as did the Babylonian year, or in autumn 
with the month Tishri. Among an agricultural people, 
the cycle of whose farm operations began with the 
late autumn rains, the latter alternative is the more 
probable. This is also the prima facie inference from 
the wording of the earliest legislation, according to 
which the autumn Feast of Ingathering (or Booths) 
fell '• at the end of the year " (Ex. 23i6, 3422). Before 
the fall of the monarchy, however, probably under 
the influence of Babylonia, it had become customary 
to begin the New Year in spring (Jer. 3622*), It is 

1 The present practice Is to Intercalate a thirteenth month In 
years 3. 6. 8, 11. 14. 17. and 19 of the cycle. In NT times It was 
already a rule that the Passover must always fall after the spring 
equinox. 



also possible that both reckonings existetl side by side 
from an earlier period. In any case the developed 
festival legislation of the Priests' Code reckons the 
Pa.ssover month (Abib-Nisan) as " the beginning of 
months" (Ex. 122 and pcussim). The presumably 
earlier method, however, persisted, and indeed still 
persists, in the official Jewish calendar of to-day. 

Under the monarchy events were dated by the 
regnal years of the sovereign, or by some outstanding 
incident (see Am. li). In the Greek period we first 
meet with a real era, that known a« the .Seleucidan era, 
which began in October 312 B.C. The author of 
1 Mac, however, is believed to calculate his dates 
from the .spring of 311 B.C. 

Literature. — I.-III. Weights and Measures.— F. 
Huitsch, Oriechische U7id liomische Metrologie, 2n(l od. 
1882 (standard work on this subject, but now antiquated 
in parts) ; W. M. Flinders Petrie, " Weights and 
Measures " in EB *i : H. Nisson, " Griechische u. 
Romische Metrologie,' in Ivan Miiller's Ilaiulhuch d. 
AUertumswissensclMft * ; C. F. I^hmann-Haupt, Da» 
filihahylon. Maas- und Oewichissystem, 1893, also " Die 
hebraischen Masse"' in Klio xvi. [1914], 34511. ; G. F. 
Hill, " Weigh t^s and Measures " in EBi ; A. R. S. 
Kennedy, corresponding article in HDB, also " In- 
scribed Weights from Palestine,"' ET, xxiv. [Aug. -Sept. 
1913], and " Hebrew Wcighta and Measures,"' Journ. oj 
Transns. of tlie Victoria Inslitnte, xlvii. [1915]. 

IV. Money.— F. W. Madden, Coins of the Jem, 1881, 
now largely superseded by G. F. HiU, Brit. Mus. Cat. 
Coins of Palestim, 1914 (indispensable) ; Th. Reinach, 
Jewish Coins (Engl. TransL, 1903) ; A. R. S. 
Kennedy, " Money," in HDB, iii. 417-432 ; E. Rogers, 
A Handy Guide to Jewish Coins, 1914. 

V. Time. — F. K. Ginzler, Handbuch der vutlhemat. 
u. technischen Chronologie, vol. ii., " Zeitrechnung der 
Juden,"" pp.1-1 19 (includes four pages of bibliography) ; 
E. Schiirer, Gesch. d. jiidischen Volkes^, vol. i. 745ff. 
'■ Gnmdziige des jiid. Kalenders," also for Assuan 
Papyri, Tlicol. Litztg., 1907, col. 65-69 ; " Calendar," 
'■ New Moon," &c., in Jewi-^h Enc. ; Abrahams, 
" Time " in HDB, iv. 762ff. ; W. M. Ramsay, 
"Numbers, Hours^,- Years," in HDB, v. 47311. ; R 
Konig, "Kalcnderfragen," etc., Zeitschrifl der Deutschen 
Morgenldndischen GeseUschijt, 60 (1906). 605ff. 

Cf. for each section the relative parts of the standard 
works on Hebrew Archaeology by Nowack and Ben- 
zinger. 



THE CHRONOLOGY OF THE 
OLD TESTAMENT 



By the editor 



The subject is full of difficulties. The Biblical data 
taken by themselves provide no satisfactory chronology, 
and a comparison with non-Biblical chronologies proves 
tuat at many points the Hebrew statements need recti- 
fication. The OT records are often vague aiad inde- 
finite. In the earlier books the king of Egypt is 
referred to simply as the Pharaoh, without any indica- 
tion which Pharaoh is intended. There is accordingly 
much dispute as to the identity of the Pharaoh of the 
Oppression and the Pharaoh of the Exodus. They are 
also inconsistent. Thus m the case of the two king- 
doms, the period assigned to the kings of Israel from 
the death of Solomon to the destruction of Samaria is 
about eighteen and a haK years less than that assigned 
to the kings of Judah within the same limits. The 
equalisation of the two by the interpolation of inter- 
regna in the former is arbitrary and conjectural, with 
no shred of evidence to support it The figures also 
seem in some instances to have been artificially con- 
structed ; e.q. 40 and its multiples play a consider- 
able part. At various points they involve serious 
improbabilities, not to say impossibilities. The most 
obvious case is the extraordinary length of life as- 
cribed to the antediluvians (Gen. 5), and in a somewhat 
less degree their successors (Gen. 11 10-32). But other 
examples are to be found in the patriarchal history 
(p. 163). So far as Gen. 0, 11 10-32 are concerned, we 
have also to reckon with the serious discrepancies 
between MT, Sam., and LXX. 

When we take non-Biblical sources into account, 
the deficiencies of the OT chronology become still more 
patent. The Assyrian records in particular are 
singularly exact, presenting a striking contrast to 
the OT. They show that the statements as to the 
reigns of the kings of Judah and Israel need serious 
revision. Several dates are definitely fixed by them, 
the earliest being the battle of Karkar in 854 B.C., 
at which Ahab is said to have been present. Unfor- 
tunately the earlier chronology of Egypt and Baby- 
lonia is still much in doubt. 

An advanced civilisation had been reached by the 
time at which the OT places the Creation of Man. It 
is futile to attempt any determination of dates till 
we come to Abraham, and even here any result must 
bo very uncertain. According to the Biblical data 
645 years elapsed between the Call of Abraham and 
the Exodus. If we fix the Exodus about 1230 B.C., 
in the reign of Merenptah II, wo should get 1875 B.C. 
for the Call of Abraham. According to Gen. 14 
Abraham was a contemporary of Amraphol. If wo 
can rely on this synchronism, which is very precarious 
(p. 133), and if Amraphol is to be identified with Ham- 
murabi, which is by no means certain, and if we fix 
Hammurabis reign as 2123-2081 B.C., then Abraham 
would be in Canaan about 2100 B.C., and the period 



from his Call to Merenptah would bo much more than 
645 years. We might ease the difficulty by shifting 
the Exodus back, or possibly by coming down to a 
lower date for Hammurabi, or by abandoning the 
synchronism of Gen. 14. If, however, we recognise 
the uncertainty which attaches to the period of 645 
years and to the narrative in Gen. 14, we shall be 
forced to conclude that, even if the liistoricity of 
Abraham is accepted, no certainty can be felt with 
reference to his date. 

The date of the Exodus has also been much con- 
tested. It must sufiice to say here that the usual 
view that it fell in the Nineteenth DjTiasty (1328- 
1202), in the reign of Merenptah II (1234-1214), 
still seems the most probable. It appears to have 
taken place about 1230 B.C. The Pharaoh of tho 
Oppression would be Rameses II. It is quite uncer- 
tain how long tho residence of the Hebrews in Egypt 
lasted. 

No definite conclusions are possible as to the period 
from the Exodus to Saul, beyond the general statement 
that, assuming c. 1230 as the date of the Exodus, the 
period lasted about two hundred years. The scheme 
in Jg. has been artificially constiiicted, and we must 
beware of supposing that the twelve judges stood in 
hneal succession, with intervals of national apostasy 
and oppression. For the most part their sphere was 
restricted, and two or more judges may have flourished 
contemporaneously. No attempt, accordingly, is here 
made to assign dates. 

For the period of the monarchy we are much better 
informed, and the Assyrian records are often available 
to correct tho OT figures. Even here, however, there 
is a margin of uncertainty. A good deal of discussion 
has centred about the narratives of tho return under 
Cyrus, and the work of Ezra and Nehcmiah. 

The opinion of scholars is divided on many points, 
and the following table must be regarded as often 
conjectural. Reference should be made further to 
the Introductions to the Commentaries on Ezra and 
Nehemiah. and Daniel, and to the articles on The 
History of Israel, The Nations Contemporary with 
Israel, The Historical Books of the OT, and Jewish 
History from the Maccabees to the Destruction of 
Jerusalem. 



Hebrew History. 



c. 1230. The Ezodua from 

Egypt. 
1033. Saul. 



History of Other Peoples. 

2123-2081. Hammurabi king of 

Babylonia. 
1300-1234. Ramies II king of 

Kpypt. 
1234-1214. JJerenptah II, king 

of Egypt. 



120 



THE CHRONOLOGY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT 



Hebrew 


History. 


B.C. 




loio. David. 




970. Solomon. 




Judah. 


Isnvl. 


933. Relioboam. 


. Jeroboam I. 


916. Abijain. 




914. Asa. 




912. 


Nadab. 


Ill: 


]!a.'«ha. 


Elah. 


887. 


Ziinri. 


887. 


Oniri. 


876. 


Ahab. 


873- Jehoshapliat. 


854. 


Ahaziah. 


853- 


Jehorani. 


849- Jehoram. 




842. Ahaziah. 




842. Athaliuh. 


Jehu. 


836. JeUoaah. 




814. 


Jchoahaz. 


798. 


Jchoasli. 


79?. Amaziah. 




78.'. 


Jeroboani II. 


77f-. Urzir.i.. 




750. Jotham regent. 


743- 


Zethariah. 


743- 


Shalluui. 


743- 


Menahem. 


740. Jothara. 




737. 


Pekahiah. 


736. Ahaz. 


rckah. 


730. 


HoEhea. 


727. Hezekiah. 




722. 


Fall of 




Samaria. 


698. Manassch. 




643. Amon. 




640. Josiah. 





History of Other Peoples. 



e. 950-927. Sheshonq king of 



929. Sheshonq invades Jud:i 



860-825. Shalmaneser II king 

of Assyria. 
854. liattlo of Karkar. 



Jehu tributary to Assyria. 



745-727- Tijrlath-pileser king of 
Assyria. 



738. Mcnahcra tributary to 
Assyria. 



727-722. Shalinaneser IT king 
of Assyria. 

722-705. Sargou, king of Assy- 
ria. 

705-681. Sennacherib king of 
Assyria. 

681-668. Esarhaddon king of 
Assyria. 

668-626. A.=whurbanipal king of 
Assyria. 



625. Nabopolassar founds 
Kew Babylouian king- 
dom. 



Hebrew History. 

u.c. 

608. Jehoabaz. 
608. Jehoiakim. 



597. Jehoiachin. 
597. Zedekiah. 

586. Destruction of .Tcrusnlcm 
and Exile to Kabyloii. 

538. Edict of Cynis. 

516. Dedication of Second 
Temple. 

458. Heturn under Ezra. 

445. Neheraiah's fu'St visit to 
Jerusalem. 

444. I'ublic readinc and accept- 
ance of the Law. 

432. Nehemiah's second visit 
to Jerusalem. 

332. Submission of the Jews to 
Alexander the Great. 

320. Palestine under the Pto- 
lemies (pp. 62, 79f-, 524). 

198. Antioohus IH of Syria (pp. 
62, 524)conquers Palestine. 

168. Antiochus IV (Epiphancs) 
attempts to suppress the 
Jewish religion. 

167. The Jews revolt, led by 
the M accabees. 

165. Jerusalem recaptured and 
Temple worship restored. 

160. Death of Judas Maccabajus. 

160-142. Jonathan. 

142-135. Simon Maccabreus. 

142. Jews gain independence of 
Syria. 

I35-I05- John Hyrcanus. 

105-104. Aristobulus I. 

104-78. Ale.xander Jannaeus. 

78-69. Salome. 

69. Aristobulus 11. 

65. Pomiiey captui-es Jerusa- 
lem. P.alestine becomes 
Koman province. 

40-37. Antigonus. 

37-4. Herod the Great. 



History of Other Peoples. 

610. Necbo kiiig of Egypt. 

607. Tall of A.ssyrian Empire. 
605. Mcbuchadn'ezziu: defeats 

Egypt at Carchemish. 
604-J61. Isebuchadnezzar king 

of £abylon. 

594. Psammetichus II king of 

EfO'pt. 
589. Apries king of Egypt. 



For dates of Babylonian and 
Persian kings and dynasties of 
."^eleucids and Ptolemies, sec pp. 
52 3f. For fuller chronolo'/j- of 
the period covered by Ezra- 
Kcbemiab, see p. 323. 



INTRODUCTION TO THE PENTATEUCH 



By Dr. J. ESTLIN CARPENTER 



The OT opens with five books which our English 
Bible designates " books of Moses." ^ The titles which 
they now bear — like Genesis or " origin," Exodus or 
" departure " — are derived ultimately from the Greek 
version of the Jewish Scriptures. The books were known 
in the synagogue by their first words : thus Genesis was 
entitled B^reahiih, " In the beginning." Taken to- 
gether they formed the " Five-fifths of the Torah," or 
Law. The Greek name Pentateuch expressed this 
" five-volume " arrangement. As the Book of Joshua 
continues the story of the settlement of the Israelites in 
Canaan after the death of Moses, and has been com- 
piled out of documents continuous with those em- 
ployed in the preceding books, it forms a natural sequel 
to them, and the term Hexateuch, " six-volume," has 
been coined to indicate their literary and historic unity. 
In the Jewish arrangement the Book of Joshua is 
reckoned in the second division of the Canon ; it 
stands at the head of the great group of histories — 
Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings — which were 
classed as " the Former Prophets," followed by Isaiah, 
Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and " the Twelve " (Rosea to 
Malachi), known as " the Latter Prophets " (pp. 37f.). 
At what time the books of the Law were divided as 
they have descended to us is not known with certainty. 
The Pentateuch is the result of a long historical process, 
the last stage of which begins with the labours of Ezra 
in the fifth century B.C. There is good reason to think 
that the inclusion of Joshua in the Canon of the 
prophetic writings was not effected for two centuries 
later. 2 

The Hebrew term Torah was not confined to positive 
commands or legal ordinances. In its broad sense it 
denoted " teaching," such as parents might give to 
their children, or wise men to the young who were 
entering life. It was applied to the instruction im- 
parted by prophets, and the directions with which 
priests settled difficult disputes. Sometimes it widens 
out to include the whole field of what we might call 
Revelation ; in other contexts it is the title of a special 
collection of precepts. As the general name of the 
first five books of our Bible it included history as well 
as legislation : it summed up the ancient faith of 
Israel in the Divine purpose of the creation of the world, 
the making of man, and the preparation of the chosen 
people to be the organs of truth and righteousness for 
the nations of the earth. And as Moses had been the 
founder of Israel's religious institutions, the books 
which recorded the sacred traditions, and the collec- 
tions of laws established upon them, came to be asso- 
ciated with his name ; and in citing " the Law of 
Moses " the Chronicler probably refers to our Penta- 

1 This description came into Encland throiiBh Tvnthile's version 
of the Pentateuch, and was i)robal)ly derived from Luther's tn.ns- 
latlon. which did not emiiloy any otlicr than numerical titles, " First 
HfX)k of Moses." and so on to the Fifth, 

- As the Book of Joshua will receive separate notice, this Intro- 
duction is limited to the Pentateuch. 



teuch and implies his authorship. But the Chronicles 
are among the latest works in the OT. They belong 
to the Greek age (p. 315), and thus the earhest external 
testimony to Jloses as the writer of the Pentateuch 
only meets us not much less than a thousand years 
after the Exodus. It was the belief of the rabbis ; 
it was the boast of the historian Josephus in Pales- 
tine ; it was the asstimption of the cultivated Jew of 
Alexandria, Philo ; and it passed into the Christian 
Church as the accepted basis of the entire history of 
revelation. 

But the books themselves contain no such statement. 
Genesis and Leviticus tell us nothing of their authors. 
Exodus briefly refers certain passages to Moses (17i4, 
244, 3427-28). Numbers only attributes to him a list 
of the stages of the Israelite march (332). Two ac- 
counts are given in Deuteronomy of the writing of 
" this law " (3I9-13 and 24-26), which is then com- 
mitted to the custody of the Levites. The Law thus 
said to have been recorded is clearly limit<-d (444) 
to " the testimonies, the statutes, and the judgments " 
assigned to the last year of Moses' life in the land of 
Moab. These " statutes and judgments " apparently 
begin in 12i and reach a solemn conclusion in 2616-19. 
The value of these ascriptioas must be tested by such 
evidence as history subsequently may provide. The 
fact that thej- apply only to certain parts of the books 
is in itself a warning against crediting Moses with the 
whole. 

For more than a thousand years after our era the 
tradition of Mosaic authorship was not seriously ques- 
tioned, though some obscure sects here and there 
raised a doubt on grounds of doctrine or usage. The 
famous Spanish Rabbi Ibn Ezra (a.d. 1088-1167) was 
the first to hint in veiled language at the existence of 
passages belonging to a lat<>r age. The immense 
intellectual energy of the Renaissance did not neglect 
the Scriptures. In 1520 Carlstadt, who had started 
in 1516 on the same path of reform as Luther, pointed 
out that the style of narrative after the death of 
Moses in the Book of Joshua remained unchanged, and 
it was therefore possible that Moses was not the author 
of the five books ascribed to him. Luther, who felt 
himself in no way bound by the Church tradition 
about Scripture, asked what it mattered if Moses had 
not himself Avritten the Pentateuch. The new learning 
brought various critics, both Catholic and Protestant, 
into the field, and in the seventeenth century Thomas 
Hobbes in his Leriathan (1651), and Spinoza in the 
Tractatus Theoloqico-Politicus (1671). pomted to 
numerous indications of post-Mosaic authorship and 
chronological embarrassment. Neither theologian nor 
philosoplier, however, had. as yet hit upon any clue 
by which the contents of the Pentateuch could be 
analysed into their constituent parts. In 1685 a 
Duteh scholar, Jean lo Clerc, nia<lo the important 
observation that the term " prophet " applied to 



12: 



INTRODUCTION TO THE PENTATEUCH 



Abraham in Gen. 2O7 did not como into use till the 
time of Samiuil (1 S. Oq). Ho infem»d, tlicrcfore, tliat 
the Pcntattmch could not liavo assumed its jircsent 
form till the time of tlic monarchy, and suggested tliat 
it had been compiled from various documents, some 
of which might have been written even before Moses, 
though only fragments had been preserved. The 
problem was how to distinguish such different sources. 
Two generations passed before a cluo was supplied. 
At length a French physician, Jean Astruc of Jlont- 
pelier. Catholic by religion though of Huguenot origin, 
published anonymously at Brussels a httlo book of 
Conjectures on the Original Doctiments irhich Moses 
appears to have employed for the Comjiosition of the 
Book of Genesis. He noticed that in different narratives 
the Deity was designated by different names. In 
some passages He was called Elohim. (God), in others 
YHWH (the four letters of the sacred name originally 
pronounced Yahtveh, represented in our English 
version by " the Lord," the equivalent of the Hebrew 
word read in its place and anglicised, through the 
application of the vowels of the Hebrew title to the 
original consonants, in the form Jelwvnh). On this 
basis he distributed the contents of Genesis into two 
main documents, an Elohim narrative A and a Yahweh 
Btory B, which ran through the entire book. To the 
Elohim source, for example, he assigned the stately 
account of the creation (I-23), followed by the gene- 
alogy in .5 ; its counterpart in 24-4 opened the Yahweh 
document. The story of the Flood was compiled from 
the two narratives, and its inconsistencies were at 
once explained. If in 619 Elohim commanded Noah 
to take one pair of each Idnd of animal into the ark, 
while in 72 Yahweh enjoined Noah to distinguish 
between the clean and the unclean, it was clear that 
two independ(>nt versions had been combined. In 
the patriarchal stories there were episodes that seemed 
to fit into neither of these two great groups. The 
invasion of the Jordan vaU(^y by Chedorlaomer and 
his alUes in 14, the attack on Shechem in consequence 
of the violation of Dinah in .34, the Edomite hsts in 36, 
with some shorter passages (ten in all), were referred 
to separate sources. Astruc did not carry his in- 
vestigations beyond the first two chapters of Exodus. 
By this limitation he missed the real key to the diversity 
which he had so acutely noticed. His results were 
consequently incomplete. Later scholars were to lay 
broad and deep the foundations of OT study, but the 
initial inquiry into the composition of the Pentateuch 
owes most to Astruc. 

It is not necessary to recite the successive critical 
steps by which the modem position has bsen reached, 
but a few words may be said concerning the method 
of composition, of which the Pentateuch presents so 
conspicuous an example. The later books of Israel's 
national history show similar traces of compilation. 
Thus Jg. 1 106-15 reproduces Jos. I514-10 in a different 
context. There are two aecounts of the origin of 
the monarchy in 1 R. ; there are in the same way 
different versions of (ho rejection of Said. David is 
first intro<luced as a lad, too young to bo summoned 
to the family sacrifice (1 S. 10 11), but in the same 
chapter he is already (18) a " mighty man of valour 
and a man of war." Plainly these descriptions are 
drawn from separate sources, and the comf)iicr saw 
no difliculty in putting them in immediate succession. 
Sometimes such extracts might be altered, or expanded, 
or curtailed. The ])urpose of the writer was always 
moral ; he chose what seeme<l fittest to convey his 
Ideas, and he adapted his materials to suit his own 
conceptions of religious tnith. Of this practice a 



conspicuous illustration Ls afforded in the Books of 
Chronicles compared with the earlier Books of Kings. 
They tell the story of David and his succes-sors in the 
monarchy at Jerusalem in the light of the faith and 
I)racticc of the Greek age to which the author belonged. 
The forms of worship which he knew were of time- 
honoured antiquity. Ho supposed them to have been 
observed by the pious kings of the past ; and he 
depicted David and Hczekiah as types of the devout 
observance of his o«n time. Statements of the older 
books are transferred to his own pages, sometimes in 
long passages word for word, sometimes with important 
modifications or additions. In this way later works 
are built up on earlier, and the examination of other 
hteratures shows that this practice was not confined 
to Israel. " When we compare the Arabic historians 
with one another," says Prof. A. A. Bevan,* " we 
find that they differ precisely as the Book of 
Chronicles differs from Samuel and Kings. Some- 
times the same passage, extending over several pages, 
appears in two or more authors, but in such 
cases we almost universally find a certain number of 
variants. At other times, particularly in tho later 
Arabic historians, wo come upon what may be called 
patchwork narratives, consisting of short passages 
borrowed (with or without modification) from older 
works and fitted together by the compiler, who, of 
course, usually interspei"sc8 remarks of his own." 
Similar methods may be observed in the literature of 
India, for example in the successive narratives of the 
early life of Gotama the Buddha, while the development 
of numerous works of sacred law presents corresponding 
features. The study of the first three Gosjiels shows 
that like methods were adopted bj' tho primitive Evan- 
gehsts (pp. 672-4J78). Large portions of Mark are repro- 
duced in Lnke ; very nearly the whole is represented in 
Maiiheic. But Luke and Matthew have both employed 
an additional source, which, however, they treat in 
their own way, sometimes preserving its very words 
with care, sometimes transposing, modifying, omitting, 
adding, creating fresh connexions and imparting new 
meanings. Various materials may thus be welded 
into a single whole. Of this process a remarkable 
instance is afforded in the early Christian Church by 
the Diatessaron of Tatian. Born in the East, probably 
beyond the Tigris, and educated in tho Greek learning, 
he was converted to Christanity and went to Rome. 
There ho was a pupil of Justin some time before A.D. 
l.'}2, and thence he returned at a later date to the East. 
For the use of the churches he drew up a land of 
harmony of the Gospels, which gained the name 
Diatessaron, " by Four," and was widely employed 
instead of the " separate " books. In a generai sense 
its literary foundation was tho Fourth Gospel, from 
which its opening and closing pas.'iages were taken. 
But the attempt to combine the different materials 
led inevitably to transpositions and amalgamations, 
which sometimes left incongruities unconcealed. From 
such a product the sections belonging to the Fourth 
Gos{K'l could bo eliminated with little dillicidty. But 
no analysis of the nst could reaeh more than tentative 
results. In this case, however, we possess tho 
" separate " Gospels independently, and can trace the 
use which has been made of e.aeh. In dealing with 
the Pentateuch that aid fails us. On the other hand, 
tho grounds for resolving it into definite groups of 
narrative and law arc far more numerous and decisive. 
Tho modem view, which distributes it into four main 



I " Historical MetlicxJs In the OT " in' CambrUiof. BiblUal Essays. 
1909. i>. 13. 



INTRODUCTION TO THE PENTATEUCH 



123 



documents, presents it, in fact, as the Diatessaron of 
the OT. 

It is sometimes supposed that this distribution de- 
pends exclusively upon the use of different words, 
notably on the varying occurrence of the two Divine 
names to which Astruc was the first to call att-ention. 
Thus the distinguished Egyptologist, M. Edouard 
Naville, ^vrites of " the philological analysis on which 
rests entirely the theory of the various documents of the 
Pentateuch." ^ Such an assertion entirely overlooks the 
large mass of evidence of other kinds, which constitutes 
the real foundation of the whole argument. It cannot 
be too often repeated that the primary considerations 
are not linguistic at all. They arise out of inconsist- 
encies in statements of fact ; they arc based on diver- 
gencies in the presentation of the events and institutions 
belonging to the Mosaic age ; they are concerned with 
incongruities in legislation which cannot be referred to 
one single hand. It is quite true that these differences, 
when they are compared together, are seen to be accom- 
panied by varieties of expression, which tend in their 
turn to fall into groups. Certain leading ideas are 
couched again and again in recurring formulae. And 
in passages which may for other reasons bo suspected 
as composite, the usage of words may become a valu- 
able aid in analysis. But it must always be remem- 
bered that the elemental grounds of the resolution 
of the Pentateuch into its four main constituents do 
not he in language ; they are to be found in the diver- 
sities of sacred tradition and of religious enactment, and 
are confinned by the witness of subsequent history. 

A few instances must suffice to illustrate the diffi- 
culty of ascribing the accoimts of the incidents of the 
Mosaic age to the great leader himself. In the settle- 
ment of Israel in Egypt they were placed as shepherds 
in the land of Goshen (Gen. 472;). There, accordingly, 
when the plagues break out, they are unaffected by the 
flics which swarm in the houses of the Egyptians 
(Ex. 822), and the hail which desolates the crops 
throughout Egypt docs not touch them (926). But 
a second representation depicts them as located among 
the Egyx>tians ; and v,'hen thick darkness covered the 
land for three days, so that no one could move, the 
children of Israel had fight in their dwellings (Ex. 
IO21-23). Blended in this manner with the native 
population all around them, and even in their own 
homes, they were able to secure jewels of gold and silver 
with which to start upon their way (Ex. 82 if., 
11 1-3). Some imes the same narrative contains quite 
different details. When the twelve spies are sent to 
explore Canaan (Nu. 132 1), they traverse the whole 
length of the country from south to north, as far as 
the pass known as " the entering in of Hamath." 
But the next veree describes them as making a fresh 
start ; they only get as far as Hebron and the adjacent 
valley of Eshcol, where they cut down a huge cluster 
of grapes, which they carry back, with pomegranates 
and figs, to Moses at Kadesh (2C6), about fifty miles 
south of Beersheba, the other narrative conducting them 
still further south to the wilderness of Paran, whence 
they had started (1326a). 

A similar combination of different narratives may 
be discerned in the account of the rebelhon of Korah, 
Dathan, and Abirara in Nu. 16. Korah the Lo\-ite 
is the leader of " two hundred and fifty princes of the 
congregation, mm of renown," who protest against 
the religious leadership of Moses and Aaron ; Dathan 
and Abiram belong to the tribe of Reuben, and head a 
revolt against the secular authority of Moses. Even 

1 ATchcedoov 0/ ihe Old TesUiment, 1013, p. 304. cf. 24. 



Prof. Orr admits that " there are traces in the narrative 
of ttoo movements." ^ They have been imperfectly 
combined, for Korah's party are first of all swallowed 
up with the followers of Dathan and Abiram (32), and 
are afterwards devoured by the sacred fire which 
comes forth from the entrance of the tent of meeting 
(35). The significance of the fact that in the retrospect 
(Dt. Il6) Dathan and Abiram alone are mentioned, 
and Korah is ignored, will Ijccome apparent hereafter. 
Once more there is a remarkable divergence between 
the accounts of the making of the Ark in Ex. and Dt. 
In Dt. 10, after the first sojourn of Moses on the 
mount, and the fracture of the stone tablets of the 
covenant, Moses is directed to cut two new tablets and 
make an ark in which they may be preserved. The 
recital continues : " So I made an ark of acacia wood, 
and hewed two tables of stone like unto the first." 
He reasccnds the mount, the tablets are Divinely 
inscribed, and the story concludes (5) : " And I turned 
and came down from the mount, and put the tables 
in the ark which I had made ; and there they be aa 
Yahweh commanded me." The narrative of Exodus 
gives a completely different representation. Before 
the first tablets have been entrusted to him, Moses 
receives elaborate instructions for the preparation of 
the Ark (Ex. 25io-2i), into which he is to put tho 
" testimony " which vnW be deUvered to him. These 
directions are carried out by Bezalel (37i), and on 
New Year's Day in the secorM" ycSr-Moses put the 
" testimony " into the Ark (4O20). It is impossible 
to suppose that these two stories can have been 
written by the same hand. The narrative of Dt., 
however, plainly depends on that in Ex. 34i-4, as the 
following parallels show : 

\ Ex. 34. Dr. 10 

! 1 And Yahweh said unto 1 At that time Yahweh 6aid 

i Moses. Hew thee two tables of unto me. Hew thee two tabl«s 

stone like unto the first ; of stone like unto the first, and 

come up to me to the mount, 

aud make thee an ark of wood. 

and I will write upon the 2 And I will write on the tables 

tables the words which were i.n the words.that were on the first 

the first tables which thou tables which thou brakest, and 

brakest . . . thou shalt put them m the ark, 

4 And he hewed two tables 3 So I made an ark of acacia 

of stone Uke unto the first . . . wood, and hewed two tables ol 

and he went up into Moimt stone like unto the first, and 

Sinai . and took in his hand \«:nt up mto the mount having 

two tables of stone. the two tables in mme hand. 

Why is all mention of the Ark omiited in Ex. 34 ? 
No doubt it stood there originally, for why should it 
have been inserted in Dt. 10 ? It has apparently been 
removed from the earlier story to make room for the 
very different description of Bezalel's Ark. In the 
process of compilation they coidd no longer be allowed 
to stand side by side. 

Bezalel's Ark is placed in an elaborate structure 
named " the dwelling " (Ex. 259).^ Upon the Ark is 
laid a golden slab (2G17) bearing two cherubim with 
outspread wmgs, protcctmg the " testimony " within. 
It was the solemn seat from which Yahweh would 
condescend to meet and speak (RV " commune ") 
with IMoses (2622). The dwelling which ooshrined it 
was placed in the centre of the camp, with the twelve 
tribes surrounding it, three on a side, Judah taking 
the lead upon the east (Nu. 2). It sometimes also 
bears the name " tent of meeting," as in the chapter 
just cited, or tho two are combined, " dwelling of tho 
tent of meeting " (Ex. 4O2). But of this tent we are 
told (Ex. 337) that Moses used to pitch it outside the 

1 The Problem ol Uie Old Testinifnt. p. 358. . .1. . * 

i So RVm. The renderlni; " tab:-r:i,",cle obsoutos the fact 
that the tenn U derived immediately frt"? the prjmilso in the re- 
ceding verse. " Let them make me a sanctuary that 1 may metu 
among them." 



124 



INTRODUCTION TO THE PENTATEUCH 



camp at a distance from it.^ And a very different 
picture is given of the august communion of the great 
leader with Yahweh. AVlion Moses had entered 
it, a pillar of cloud came down in the sight 
of the distant people, and stood at the opening, 
and sjxike with him. Such Divine converse, " face 
to face as a man spcaketh unto his friend " is 
recorded in Xu, 11 25, I25, and at a similar meeting 
Joshua received his charge (Dt. 31i4f.,23). It is 
alleged, indeed, that " going out from the camp " 
mcfins coming into the open space in the centre where 
the sanctuarj' stood. But such an ex])lanation is 
quite inconsistont with the story of the seventy elders 
(Nu. 11), two of whom did not go out to the tent, 
but remained in the camp (24-30), to which Moses and 
the prophetic company return. These representations 
cannot be harmonised, and belong to different concep- 
tions of the sanctuary in the wilderness. 

In the tent of meeting the young Joshua used to 
minister, remaining in it when Moses went back into 
the camp (Ex. 33 11). For the dweUing, however, very 
elaborate provision was made. Aaron and his sons 
were solemnly consecrated to the ministry (Lev. 8), 
and at a later stage the Levites were set apart for the 
service of the sanctuary (Nu. 8), but they were for- 
bidden to approach the altar or perform priestly func- 
tions under pain of death (Nu. I82-7). The Deutero- 
nomic code, however, which is assigned in Pentateuchal 
chronology to the last year of Moses' life, recognises 
no such distinction. " The priests, the Levites " 
(i.e. the Lcvitical priests), " the whole tribe of Levi " 
(Dt. I81), possess equal rights; all are alike entitled 
" to stand to minister in the name of Yahweh." A 
country Levitc coming up to the central sanctuary, 
" the place which Yahweh shall choose " {i.e. Jeru- 
salem), shall have the full privilege of the altar, like 
those who already " stand there before Yahweh " 
(Dt. 186f.). They will have no territorial mainte- 
nance, they will live by the altar-dues (Dt. 18if.), 
which in Nu. I820 are reser^^ed for the priests alone. 
More startling still is the contra.st with the repeated 
commendation of the poor Levites to the householder's 
goodwill (Dt. 12i2,i8-ig, etc.). So far from having 
no inheritance (Dt. I82), they are promised, in the 
very same year of Moses' life, the ample endowment 
of forty-eight cities with their surrounding pasture- 
lands (Nu. 35i-6). How can such diversities of rc- 
hgious institutions and legislative enactment be 
ascribed to a single founder ? 

The records of Moses' acti\ity thus present different 
conceptions of historic fact and of provision for 
the future. A little attention to their language 
further reveals striking varieties of terminology. The 
" sanctuary " which is to be provided for Yahweh 
(Ex. 2o8 and twelve other passages), Dt. never names. 
It constitutes a place for Yahweh to dwell in, and is 
called the " dwelUng." This term Dt. ignores. For 
one group of narratives the sacred mountain bears 
the name of Sinai ; Dt. always prefers the name 
Horeb. The middle books describe the organisation 
of the people under the name " congregation " ; they 
arc divided into " tribes" (matteh), whose chiefs are 
" princes." For Dt. the nation forms an " assemblj'," 
constituted, indeed, out of tribes, designated by a 
different word (skebhet), who are led by " heads " and 
" elders." These changes of vocabulary are not hap- 
hazard. They accompany contrasted conceptions of 
specific arrangements which are attri butted to the same 

1 The careful reader will Dotlce that it Is here descrilied as some- 
thmg familiar and well known. But according to Ex. 36-40 it 
has ]rct to be made. 



historic and geographic situation. Thus in the plains 
of Moab provision is made twice over for cities of 
refuae in the following terms ; 

y Nu. 809-14. I>T. 19i-3. 

j6 Aiid Yahweh spake unto ] When Yahweh thy God Bhal) 

Moaes saying, 10 Speak unto the cut off the nation whose land 

chlldriTi of Israel and say unto Yahweh thy G«<1 Kivith thee, 

them. When ye pasa over Jordan and thou succ^drj^t Ihein. and 

into thi; land of Canaan. 11 then dwelleat in their housts. 2 thou 

ye shall api>oint cities to be shalt separat*; tlirec cities for 

cities of refuge for you. that the thee In th'; inldnf of thy land, 

manslayer which killeth any which Yahweh thy G<>d glveth 

person unwitthigly may flee thee to iKwsess It. 3 Thou shalt 

thither, 12 And the cities shall prepare thee the way. and divide 

be unto you for refuge from the borders of thy land, wliich 

the avenger; that the manslayer Yahweh thy Gol causeth thee 

die not until he stand before to inherit inti) three parts, that 

the congregation for judttment. every manslayer may Wee 

13 And the cities which ye thither, 
shall give shall be for you six 
cities of refuge. 

The careful reader of the laws thus introduced will 
notict; a large number of differences of language. The 
opening formula in Nu., " Speak . . . and say," 
occurs twenty times in Lev.-Nu., but never once in 
Dt. The designation " land of Canaan " is frequent 
in Lcv.-Nu. (fourteen times) ; it is replaced in the 
Douteronomic code by various circumlocutions, such 
as " the land which Yahweh thy God giveth thee to 
possess it," etc The law in Nu. calls the cities " cities 
of refuge," a title which Dt. persistently ignores. 
From the rest of the passage (35io-34) various phrases 
of repeated occurrence in Lev.-Nu., such as " con- 
gregation," " high priest," " anointed with the holy 
oil," " stranger and sojourner," " statute of judg- 
ment," " throughout your generations," and others, 
have all vanished. In Nu. we read " killeth any person 
unwittingly " ; Dt. writes " killeth his neighbour 
unawares, and hated him not in time past," laying 
stress on the enmity (194, 11). Why should these laws 
have been composed in such different terms in the last 
year of Moses' okl age ? These variations of language 
are found to characterise groups of enactments asso- 
ciated with no less marked variations of social de- 
velopment and religious ideas. It has been recently 
suggested that Moses originally wrote on clay ta})lets 
similar to those which were discovered at Tell el- 
Amama on the Nile (in 1887), containing reports from 
governors of Palestinian cities to the sovereign of 
Egypt in cuneiform character (p. 55). These tablets, 
it is supposed, were carried to Babylon by the exiles, 
and were translated by Ezra some nine hundred years 
after Moses inscribed them into the vernacular Aramean 
of his day. This translation was then, at Jeni.salora, 
translated again into the language which we know as 
classical Hebrew, the speech of Isaiah and Jeremiah. 
How under such circumstances can it be imagined that 
these regular variations of diction should have been so 
carefully preserved ? Once more it must be remem- 
bered tliat the " philological argument " only emerges 
into significance when it is found to accompany diver- 
gent representations of fact. 

The key to the most immediately important of these 
divergencies lies in Ex. 62-8. Astruc had alrt>ady hinted 
that two main documents might be traced through the 
Book of Genesis, one employing the Divine name 
Elohim, the other Yahweh. Had he pursued his re- 
searches a little further, he might have discerned a 
reason for this remarkable fact. For the writer of 
Ex. 62f. t<ll8 us that " God spake unto Moses, and 
said unto him, I am Yahweh, and I appeared unto 
Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob as El Shaddai 
(God Almighty), but by My name Yahweh I was not 
known to them." This passage makes two clear 
statements. In revealing Himself as Yahweh, God 
declares that Ho had been unknown to the fathers of 



INTRODUCTION TO THE PENTATEUCH 



125 



Israel by that name ; on tho other hand, Ho had 
disclosed Himself as El Shaddai. Two such self- 
disclosures are recorded, the first to Abrahata (Gen. 
17i), the second to Jacob (35ii). The corresponding 
announcement to Isaac has not been preserved. On 
tho other hand, such declarations as that to Abraham 
(Gen. 157), " I am Yahweh, that brought thee out of 
Ur of the Chaldeos," or to Jacob (2813), " I am Yahweh, 
the God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac," 
cannot have proceeded from the writer of Ex. 63, 
unless he contradicted himself. Behind the patriarchs 
stand the dim figures of an older time, so that the 
worship of Yahweh can be carried back to the immediate 
descendants of Adam — " Then began men to call upon 
the name of Yahweh " (Gen. 426). 

Here are different conceptioas of the history of 
revelation, which are not to be set aside by the plea 
that the Hebrew text is uncertain, and that the Greek 
and other ancient versions sometimes show variations 
of usage. Were there no other independent indica- 
tions in statements of circumstance, in records of 
events, in religious ideas and practice, these diversities 
would undoubtedly possess greater weight. But the 
most cautious scholars have pointed out how many 
considerations need attention in estimating their 
value. Sometimes a copj'ist introduces a variation 
quit« accidentally ; sometimes a translator has a pre- 
ference for one name over another, or freely reproduces 
the original without rigid adherence to uniform rules. 
Henco the late Dr. Driver warned the student that, 
before a variant in the Greek or other version can be 
regarded as casting doubt upon our Hebrew text, 
" it must be shown, or at least made reasonably prob- 
able, (1) that the variant is not due to a paraphrase 
or loose rendering on the part of the translator, or to 
an error of a transcriber, but that it really depends 
upon a various reading in the Hebrew MS. used by the 
translator ; and (2) that this various reading in the 
Hebrew has substantial claims to be preferred to the 
Massoretic t€xt, as being the original reading of the 
Hebrew " ^ Dr. Skinner has proved, by a careful 
comparison of the Samaritan text of Genesis with 
the Hebrew, that while they agree in the Divine 
names over three hundred times, they only differ 
in nine. The Samaritan Pentateuch is behoved to 
be older than 300 B.C. ; it thus precedes the Greek 
version, which was begun in the next centurj'. The 
result is significant. " It means," says Dr. Skinner, 
" that through two independent lines of descent the 
Divine names in Genesis have been transmitted with 
practically no variation." * 

The argument founded on the respective occurrences 
of the names Elohim, El Shaddai, Yahweh in Genesis 
is, however, only one item in a much more compre- 
hensive list. Around these terms are grouped mani- 
fold repetitions, incongruities, discrepancies, which 
become intelligible as soon as they are referred to 
different documents. Thus the narrative of the 
creation in Gen. 1— 24a is at once discriminated from 
the story of Eden which follows. In the first, mankind 
are created by Elohim in two sexes on the sixth day, 
as the climax of the whole process of bringing into 
being the heavens and the earth. The order of pro- 
duction in the second pays no heed to what precedes. 
A single man is formed by Yahweh out of the dust 
upon the ground before any green thing had appeared.* 

» LHrraiuTc of the OT. 9th ed.. p. 29, where references to de- 
tailed dwcu-ssicin will be found. 

^ The Diviiw Names in CUnesU, 1914, p. 117. Students will 
And in this careful treatise an exhaustive reply to the argruments 
of Dahse. 

s The compiler hiia app:irently addt;d the name Elohim in order 
to Identify Him with the Deity in the preceding story. 



A garden is planted, and he is placed there to 
keep it. The beasts of the field and tho birds 
of the air are wrought successively out of the same 
ground, but none is a fit mate for him. The history 
of early man thus opened is continued with the account 
of tho first sin and its issue. A sketch of the de- 
velopment of primitive civilisation (Gen. 4) leads to 
an account of the Flood. The descendants of Noah 
arc dispersed, and the origin of diversities of language 
is explained, and the writer passes to the traditions 
of the patriarchal age. Abram builds altars to Yahweh 
and calls on His name (Gen. 128, 13i8, 2I33), and 
Yahweh makes a covenant with him (I5iS). Isaac 
follows his father's example at Becrsheba (2625) ; 
Jacob recognises Yahweh's presence at Bethel (28i6). 
Here is a succession of stories repeated from generation 
to generation, linked in local association with altars, 
pillars, wells, and sacred trees, and penetrated with 
the belief that tho simple worship of Yahweh had been 
practised from immemorial antiquity. To this group 
modem criticism has affixed tho designation J 
(Jehovah). 

On tho other hand, there are traces of a document, 
conceived on tho theory of Ex. 62f., that tho Divine 
name Yahweh was first made known to Moses. For 
example, after the statement in Gen. 6s that " Noah 
found grace in the eyes of Yahweh," we read in 9 that 
Noah was a righteous man and walked with Elohim. 
The writer proceeds to relate how the earth had become 
full of violence, and Elohim proposed to destroy all 
flesh upon it. The storj' runs parallel with Yahweh's 
grief over human wickedness, and His intention to 
hlot out man and beast and creeping thing (65-7). 
But Noah and his family are to bo saved, and while one 
writer in the name of Elohim directs him to take two 
of each sort of living thing into the ark (619), the 
other narrates Yahweh's command that he shall dis- 
criminate between clean and unclean, taking seven 
pairs of the former (72). We are plainly on the track 
of two versions of the story, not set side by side like 
the narratives of tho creation of man, but blended 
together in one continuous account. The careful 
reader will notice hov/ the vocabulary changes in 
successive sections, as the following table shows : 



Yahweh 

Yahweh, 65-8.71,5.166.820.21.1 
Every Uving thing, 74.23. 
B'.otout (RVin. Heb.) 67. 74,93- 
Rain, 74.12. 



Elohim 
Elohim, 613,22, 7i6, 815- 
All flesh, 612,13.17. 715.21, 817 
Destroy, 613.17. 

The flood, 617. 76. itam, 74.1 

Die (Heb. gava) 617, 72i. Die (Heb. muth). 722. 

Thou and thy sous. etc.. 6i3, Thou and all thy house, 7i 
713. 8i6,i8.2 

Male and female, 619, tv 

A large number of other instances may easily be 
collected linking the Elohim story with Gen. l-24a 
and 91-17. It will be observed that it begins with a 
title (69) : " Tliesc are the generations of Noah." 
The same title is found in 5i, which looks back to 
24a, where it is reasonably conjectured that the phrase 
" these are tho generations " (toledhoth) " of the heaven 
and of the earth when they were created " originally 
stood at the head of li. Similar titles are found in 
lOi, 1110,27. 2.512.19, 36i,o. 372a; a solitary 
instance occurs later in Nu. 3i.^ They point to a con- 
tinuous document running through tho whole of Genesis, 
and constituting its literary foundation as it now stands. 
Part of it is cast in genealogic form, as in 5, 11 10-27, 

1 In 79, the Samaritan, the Targuni and the \'ulgate road 
Yahweh, ** no doubt rightly ' (Driver). 

2 In 77. the phrruse seem.s due to the compiler. 

s In 73. " male and female" a8 In 619. i-s airain a hannonL=ing 
touch. 

« Elsewhere only In Ruth 4 18 and 1 Ch. 129- 



126 



INTRODUCTION TO THE PENTATEUCH 



361-30. Sometimes it expands into impoilant sec- 
tions of Divine promise, as in 91-17 or 17. These two 
passages contain aJinouuceuionts of a covenant couched 
in parallel terms, with a number of distinctive phrases 
which reappear in Ex, 62-8. With the help of these 
and other links a narrative amounting rougldy to about 
a quarter of the Book of Genesis may be separated 
out. It proves to bo a rapid summary of the history 
of the human race from its creation, which gradually 
narrows down to the family of Jacob, and brings the 
venerable patriarch with his descendants into Egypt. 
There they increase and multiply (Ex. I7), but are 
oppressed with rigorous service (I13), till Moses brings 
them the promise of Uberation in the name of Yahweh 
(62-9). Great judgments will accompany their de- 
liverance, and will lead to a solemn act of Divine 
adoption, when Yahweh will take Israel for a people 
and will bo to them a God (c/. Gen. 177, Ex. 2945. 
Lev. II45, 2233, 2038, 26i2,45. Nu. 1041). This is 
realised by the establishment of the sacred DwelUng 
and the worship of which it is the hallowed scene. The 
sequel relates the consummation of the Divine gift of 
the land once promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, 
which carries the story on into the Book of Joshua. 
Inasmuch as this contains the regulations of the 
Aaronic priesthood, it is designated by the symbol P. 

When the toledhoth sections have been removed from 
Genesis, there still n^nain numerous duplicates, which 
cannot all be ascribed to the writer -who emploj's the 
name Yahweh. For instance, there arc no less than 
three allusions (Gen. 172o [P], I611 [JJ, 21 17) to the 
meaning of Ishmael (" God hears "). In this last 
pa.ssage the designation Elohim appears. But the 
style is not that of the toledhoth book. A similar set of 
three plays on the significance of Isaac (" ho laughs ") 
may be seen in 17i7 [P], I812 [J], and 216, once more 
following Elohim. Docs P thus repeat itself ? It 
is hardly likely, for none of its characteristic formulae 
occur in these connexions, and it presents Elohim as 
communicating with the recipients of revelation 
directly, without the mediation of angels. The diffi- 
culty vanishes after the careful study of Ex. 311-15. 
Here is another account of the self-disclosure of the 
Deity m the character of Y'^ahweh, a counterpart of 
that in 62. Each passage describes Him as the God 
of the forefathers of the people, and each entrusts 
Moses with the duty of demanding permission from 
Pharaoh for the departure of the Israelites. Each 
thus looks at the same time back through the genera- 
tions of the past and forward to the achievements of 
the future. To this st^cond document, founded on 
the view that revelation was progressive and the 
sacred name Yahweh was first impart<id to Moses, the 
passages in Genesis incongruous with the toledhoth 
book may be provisionally ascril)ed. In current 
nomenclature it is known as E (Elohim). It first 
appears at any length in Gen. 2O1-17, though there is 
some reason for behoving that it may be traced in 
passages in 15 (see the analysis in the Oxford Hexa- 
teuch, or in Skinner's Genesis in ICC, p. 277). Other 
extracts may be seen in 2l8-2i and 22i-i3 (in ii 
Yahweh seems to have been inserted to prepare for 
15-18 ; the Syriac retains Elohim), and in large 
portions of the storj' of Joseph. J and E are, how- 
ever, so similar in style, and are frequently interwoven 
so closely, that their separation is often a matter of 
difficulty, and the efforts of the most skilful analysts 
can only reach probal)le results. 

The first four books of the Pentateuch may thus \>o 
resolved into three main docuincnts, P, J, and E. 
Their combination into a united narrative has involved 



various small modifications at the hands of successive 
editors, and they have no doubt each of them taken 
up into themselves elements of various dates. To P 
belongs the great mass of legislation in the middle 
books — such as Ex. 25-30, 35-40 — the whole of Lev., 
and the greater part of Nu. But Dt. (D) brings with 
it fresh pro))lems. It opens with a discourse of retro- 
spect (l6-3), which appears to contain allusions to 
both J and E. On the other hand, in its reference to 
the story of the spies (1 23-28), it ignores the elements 
in Nu. 13 now ascribed to P. The great sermons 
which introduce the code in 12-2G are, again, full of 
references to J and E, but they contain no clear 
references to P. It has already been shown, for 
instance, that the account of the making of the Ark 
(Dt. IO1-5) is inconsistent with that in Ex. 37i-9, 
which belongs to P. In the Deuteronomic legislatisn 
a large amount of the laws in Ex. 2022-23 is reproduced, 
1 often with significant modifications and enveloped 

ith hortatory eloquence. But the student looks in 
Ivain for allusions to the characteristic institutions of 
{the Dwelling and its service. Parallel laws, as has 
been shown in the case of the cities of refuge, are 
couched in different phraseology and rest upon dif- 
ferent social arrangements, though they are supposed 
to have been issued at the same time and plaee. The 
recurring phrases of the Deuteronomic oratory are 
quite distinct from those of the narratives or the 
legislation of P. They appear repeatedly in the midst 
of materials which may be traced liack to J and E ; 
they show no clear acquaintance with the literary 
features any more than with the historic representa- 
tions of the Priestly Code. If Dt. IO22 reckons the 
fathers who went down into Egypt at seventy — the 
figure also given by P in Gen, 462 7 and Ex. I5 — it 
immediately adds a comparison of their increase to 
the stars (c/. Gen. 155, 22i7, 264, Ex. 32i3 [J and 
E]), The number may well have been borrowed 
independently by both P and D from earlier tradition. 
The general result of such investigations is to vindicate 
for Dt. a separate and distinct place in the sacred 
literature now combined in our Pentateuch, which 
thus represents the union of four separate works — 
P, J, E, D. 

But how did these works come into existence, and 
how were they united ? Only the briefest answers 
can be given to these questions. The ])revailing view 
has been reached through the labours of a long series 
of scholars, led by Graf (in two essays published at the 
close of 1865), Kuenen (1869-70)'. and Wellliausen 
(1876). Their investigations lie Ix'hind all the most 
recent commentaries ; thej' are atlop(ed as the foun- 
dation of the treatment of the history and literature 
of Israel in dictionaries and enc}'clo])a?dias at home and 
abroad ; and they lead to the result that the Priestly 
Code, though it opens the Book of Genesis and sup- 
plies the framework into which the other documents 
have Ijcen fitted, is nevertheless the latest of them all. 
It has already been shown that some of the narrative 
portions of D rest upon J and E ; it is therefore later 
than those documents (whether separately or in com- 
bination need not now be asked). Its independence 
of P implies that it at least made no use of that great 
collection, and that fact suggests the inquiry whether 
it had really been compiled when D was written. The 
answer dej)ends on the story of the religious instita- 
tions which they resjxictively ordain. Attention has 
already hcon called to the striking discrepancy between 
the regulations for the trilx: of Levi in Dt. and the 
Books of Exodus and Numlx>rs (P). It can hardly 
be supposed that the stringent rules which forbade 



INTRODUCTION TO THE PENTATEUCH 



127 



the Levites to minister at the altar, and reserved the 
right of sacrifice to the Aaronic priesthood, could havo 
been relaxed by a later legislation. Nor could the 
ample provision which P lays down for the priestly 
maintenance have been permitted to lapse into the 
meagre allowance which leads D again and again to 
commend the poor Levite to the householder's good- 
will. The calendar of the feasts in Dt. 16 requires 
the attendance of all male Israelites three times a year 
at the place which Yahweh shall choose, for the feasts 
of unleavened bread, the feast of weeks, and the feast 
of booths. With the first of these is associated the 
passover, which is to be kept in the month Abib 
(ear-month), when the com was ripening in the spring.^ 
But P's list adds two other " holy convocations." On 
the first day of the seventh month is a " memorial 
of blowing of trumpets," and on the tenth is the " day 
of atonement " (Lev. 2824,27). This last is described 
with great fulness in Lev. 16. Its deep significance 
caused it to be known in later times as " The Day." 
The prescribed offerings are enumerated in Nu. 297-ii. 
Is not the entire omission of this rite in D a sign that 
the Deuteronomic legislator was unacquainted with 
it ? By such lines of reasoning the conclusion was 
gradually reached that, whatever might be the anti- 
quit\' of different elements in the sacrificial practice 
of P, the literary form given to its legislation marked 
a later stage in the development of Israel's cultus and 
the organisation of its ministry. The constituent 
documents of the Pentateuch may, then, be ranged 
in the following chronological order — J and E, D, P. 
Is it possible to ascertain under what conditions they 
successively appeared ? 

The documents J and E contain no record of the 
circumstances under which they were compiled, nor 
does history suggest any specific occasion for their 
publication. The student is therefore tlirowu back 
upon their internal evidence. It is plain that the 
representations of the patriarchal age rest upon 
legends and traditions, often connected with particular 
sacred spots. There are snatches of ancient song, 
there are sayings — half proverb, haK poem— in which 
long observation of national and tribal circumstances 
has been condensed. The writers are not concerned 
with history in our modem sense ; they love to recite 
the stories of ancient time, told and retold for genera- 
tions by priests at ancient sanctuaries, by warriors 
round the camp-fires, or by shepherds at the wells. 
Such narratives were not always on the same plane 
of religious thought. Some have the character of 
antique folklore ; some breathe the loftier spirit of a 
later day. When Abraham pleads with Yahweh as 
" the Judge of all the earth " (Gen. I825), it is plain 
that the author has a more exalted view of the Deity 
than that implied in the strange tale that Yahweh 
met Moses in an inn on his way back to Egypt and 
sought to kill him (Ex. 424). Materials of different 
ages and values are thus blended, and it is probable 
that both the original documents known as J and E 
received additions or expansions after their first com- 
position. Both narratives of the patriarchal age, 
however, look forward to the subsequent occupation 
of Canaan by the twelve tribes, and both treat them as 
constituting a national unit. But no such conception 
appears in the a.ge of the Judges. It was the monarchy 
which first welded them into one people. The empire 
created by David and transmitted to Solomon was 
proudly described in later days as extending from the 
Euphrates to the border of Egypt (I K. 42i). Such 
were the ideal boundaries of Israel's power ; thoy are 
1 Cf. Ex. 34i8a.. J. aud 23i4tf.. E. 



announced already in Gen. 15i8 as Yahweh's covenant- 
gift to Abraham's seed (J) ; they are promised in the 
wilderness to the tribes upon the march (Ex. 2331, E). 
In like manner the blessing on Judah (Gen. 498-io, 
incorporated in J) presupposes the establishment of 
the Davidic kingdom (Skumer, Genesis, in ICC, p. 500), 
while the description of Abraham as a " prophet " 
(Gen. 2O7, E) and the grand utterance of Moses, 
" would God that all Yahweh's people were prophets " 
(Nu. 11 29), belong to the age which followed the rise 
of prophecy in the days of Samuel (cf. 1 S. Og). We 
are thus led to the period of the early monarchy for 
the composition of the two groat collections of tradi- 
tions J and E. The brief legislation which they con- 
tain — the covenant words of J (Ex. 3iio-2%) and the 
Book of Judgments m E (Ex. 21-23) — both imply 
conditions of agricultural settlement, and prescribe 
three feasts in connexion with the seasons of annual 
produce ; while J's demand (Ex. 3426, apparently 
adopted editorially into 23 19, E) recognises a permanent 
sanctuary (" the house of Yahweli ") instead of a 
wandering tent. The problem of determining the 
relation between J and E is more difiicult. Both are 
penetrated by the same conviction of a Divine purpose 
in history ; but whereas J starts with the origin of 
the human race and gradually narrows his view to 
the line of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the first certain 
traces of E arc to be detected not earlier than Gen. 
15. E may, it is true, have described Abraham's 
origin beyond the Euphrates, for in Jos. 242 he de- 
clares that the forefathers beyond the river were 
idolators ; the wives of Jacob accordinglj'' bring their 
" strange gods " with them (Gen. 352-4). E thus 
recognises three stages of religious development, the 
second being the Elohim-worship of the patriarchs, 
and the third the manifestation of Elohim by the new 
name Yahweh to Moses (Ex. 313-15). Thus implies 
a more definite rotlection on the progress of revelation 
than is evinced by J, who assumes that the sacred 
designation had been known from the earliest times. 
In view of the less anthropomorphic character of E's 
representations of the deity, and the possibility that 
its author was acquainted with J's collection of the 
traditions, it is usual to suppose that J was the first 
to take written shape. And the importance which its 
original author attached to Hebron, the part played 
by Judah in the story of Joseph, and other indications, 
suppoi-t the view that it was produced in the kingdom 
of Judah. What may be called the first draft of the 
great story from the first man to the settlement of 
the tribes in Canaan was probably compiled in the 
early monarchy, most likely in the ninth century. 
Simple and brief in its primitive shape, it seems to 
have received expansions and additions adapting it 
to the higher forms of thought. In the first part of 
the next century, in the midst of growing wealth and 
national prosperity, the writer designated by the symbol 
E retold the story of the patriarchs and the Mosaic 
age, in the northern monarcliy of Ephraim. He too 
loved to dwell upon the thought of providential guid- 
ance, and a large part of the adventures of the great 
tribe-father Joseph is due to him. His work probably 
preceded the first books of literary prophecy which 
have come down to us from Amos and Hosea ; but 
the allusions in their discourses are too vague to enable 
us to affirm that they were acquainted with either 
document. Of the cata.«^trophe which overthrew the 
northern kingdom in 722 B.C. E contains no hint. The 
Assyrian peril is not yet in view. Like J, E also seems 
to have contained different deposits of religious tradi- 
tion, and to have been enriched with fresh materials, 



INTRODUCTION TO THE PENTATEUCH 



drawn possibly from diffircnt groups of sanctuary 
lore. Before long, it would appear, it was proposed 
to combine the two rt-citals. J naturally led the way, 
and portions of E (often much mutilated) were in- 
serted in it. In the process of harmonising the two 
documents some discrepancies, no doubt, were pruned 
away. But sufficient were left to reveal the fact of 
their union, even in cases where the texture of tlic 
narrative is so closely knit that its analysis can only 
be tentative.^ 

To distinguish the additions to J and to E and 
the work of the Redactor, R^", is necessarily a task 
of gn>at delicacy ; but that such additions have been 
made can hardly be doubted. The editor's hand is 
plainly to be tract>d, for instance, in Gen. 22i4-i8. 
This amalgamation must have been effected before the 
composition of the Book of Deuteronomy — i.e.. some 
time prior to 621 B.C. Dt. (D) opens with a discourse 
attributed to Moses in the land of Moab after the 
conquest of Sihon, king of the Amorites, and Og, 
king of Bashan. This briefly recites the incidents of 
the journeys from Horeb, and, like a subsequent 
discourse concerning the events at the sacred moun- 
tain (9f.), it rests on the combined narrative JE. It 
is followed by an exposition of the " testimonies and 
statutes and judgments " delivered by Moses before 
his death, which are introduced by a series of pro- 
phetic addresses (o-ll), couched in a lofty style of 
eloquence, showing remarkable affinities with the lan- 
guage of Jeremiah. The laws themselves arc set forth 
in 12-26, and the book concludes with further exhor- 
tations and poems, an account of the installation of 
Joshua at the tent of meeting, and the final narrative 
of the death of Moses. It soon becomes evident, on 
an examination of the code in 12-26. that it takes up 
and develops the early legislation of Ex. 21-23. Com- 
pare, for example, the following passages : 

Ex. 212-6. Deut. 16i2. 

2 If thou buy an Hebrew 12 If thy brother, an Hebrew 

servant (or bondJnan) sis years man, or an Hebrew woioan, be 

he shall serve : and in the sold unto thee and serve thee six 

seventh he shall go out free, years ; then in the seventh 

tor nothing, 3 If he come in yeat thou shalt let him go free 

by himself, he shall go out by I from thee. 13 And when thou 

himself: If he be married, then I lettest him go free from thee, 

his wife shall go out with him, thou shall not let him go empty ; 

4 It his ma.ster give him a wife 14 thou shalt furnish him liber- 
and she bear him sons or ally f>ut of thy flock, and out of 
daughters : the wife and her thy thru.shiug-n(X>r and out of 
children shall be her master's thy winc-pr&ss ; as Yahweh thy 
and he shall go out by himself. t;od bath blessed thee thou shalt 

5 But if the servant shall plainly give unto him. 15 .\nd thou 
Bay. I love my master, my wife slialt remember that thou wast 
and my children ; 1 will not go a bondman in the Knd of Egypt, 
out free ; 6 then his master and Yahweh thy God redeemed 
shall bring him to God, and thee ; therefore I commaiul thee 
shall bring him unto the door, this thins to-day. 16 .\nd it 
or unto the dwjrpost ; and his shall be. if he say unto thee, 1 
master shall bore his ear through will not go out from thee; 
with an awl; and he shall serve because he loveth thee and thine 
him for ever. house, Ijecause he is well with 

thee, nthon thou shalt take 
an awl and thrust it through hia 
ear \xaif> the door, and he t^hall 
be thy bondman for ever. 

Here the earlier law has been recast with new 
additions. D. 12 and i6f. are plainly founded upon 
the prior statute, but in 13-15 fresh injunctions of 
generosity are laid down. They are full of expressions 
which are found elsewhere in D,- and they make the 
same appeal to the householder's goodwill, which is 
renewed again and again on behalf of the poor Levito, 
the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow. But this 
is not the only difference. One significant item is 
dropped. In the first legislation, the ceremony of 

i A familiar instrince occurs in (Jon. 37. wlie-e J reprfsentfl 
Joseph as s<;>ld by hU brethren to Ishmaelltfes, 266-27, while E 
rehtos that he w;as " stolen " (40i,O by .Midianltes. the same verae 
(3728) act\ially relatine both the kidnapping and the sale ! 

- With 15 ef. 61S, 16", 2418.23. 



perpetual enslavement is a religious one. The bond- 
man is to bo brought to " Elohim." The most probable 
meaning of tliis is that the slave was taken to the local 
sanctuary, when- justice was administered, and the 
most august sanction was thus given to the master's 
ownership by the symbol of pinning the slave's ear 
to the doorpost. (But .see llx. 1222*, 216*. Dt. 15i7*.) 
In D this reference is dropped, and the operation 
is apparently performed in the house. Why should 
the ancient ritual be thus changed ? It arises from 
i the fundamental law of the Deuteronoraic Code (Dt. 
! 12), enjoining the abolition of all centres of cultus 
■ but one. Here the destruction of the venerable 
altars, with their sacred pillars and other emblems, 
some of which had been associated by long tradition 
with the patriarchs, is sternly enjoined, and worship 
is to be strictly confined to the one place which Yahweh 
Himself would choose. The student of the early 
history of Israel or of the prophetic writings of Amos, 
Hosea, Isaiah, and Micah, can hardly faU to see that 
this chapter contains a programme of religious reform, 
which dominates the whole subsequent legislation. 
Over against the usage of the past, which permitted 
the erection of altars and the practice of sacrifice 
wherever Yahweh " caused His name to be remem- 
bered " (Ex. 2O24), such as Bethel or Bcersheba and 
many another hallowed spot, D demands the exclusive 
concentration of Israel's homage to its Divine Lord 
in one spot. To this end one after another of the older 
laws is modified to suit the new conditions, and the 
reformed code is expanded in noble oratory, embodying 
the truths which Moses was believed to have first 
proclaimed. He it was who had taught Israel that 
they should have no other God but YahweL The 
prophets had realised that there was no other God. 
He it was wlio had guided the destinies of His people, 
had delivered them from slavcrj' in Egypt, had led 
them through the wilderness, and finally given them 
their land. The Baals might be many, Yahweh was 
but One ; obedience and love to Him, therefore, 
involved unswerving devotion and loyalty, and every 
vestige of idolatry must be swept awaj\ When was 
such a demand first made ? There is no trace of it 
in the great polemic which Elijah wages against the 
worship of the Tyriau Baal. Elisha raises no protest 
against the calves at Bethel. Neither Amos nor Hosea 
alleges that they are illegal. The first recognition of 
the demands of D meets us in the story of the reforma- 
tion under Josiah's reign (2 K. 223-2824). The 
Temple at Jerusalem needed some repaira, and the 
king sent his secretary, Shaphan, to the High Priest, 
Hilkiah, with instructions about the neccssaiy funds. 
Hilkiah told him that he had foimd a book of the Law 
in the sanctuarj*. How the discovery was made wo 
are not told, but critics of all schools are agreed that 
the book contained the fundamental laws of D. It 
has been recenth- conjectured that it was a clay tablet, 
written by Moses himself in cuneiform character, 
which had Ix^cu built into the wall of the Temple by 
Solomon. But a tablet is not a book, nor could the 
Deuteronomic Code have been inscribed upon so 
limited a space. Moreover, nothing whatever is .said 
of its Iwing written in a diflfercnt language, or requiring 
translation when it was read to the king. The stops 
which were immediately taken to carry out its injunc- 
tions prove beyond doubt that it included D's strenuous 
commands for the purification of the worship of Yahweh. 
All idolatrous emblems wen' n-moved from the Temple, 
In city and countrj' the high places and their altars 
were overthrown, the sacred pillars were 8hattcre<I, 
and the tree-poles {asherus) wore cut down. In par- 



INTRODUCTION TO THE PENTATEUCH 



129 



ticular, certain forms of Oriental cults which had 
become popular under Josiah's grandfather, Manasseh, 
were abolished. Manasseh had erected altars in the 
Temple for the great army of the stars (2 K. 21 5). 
The devotion attracted the imagination of Jerusalem, 
and was sternly rebuked by Jeremiah (82, 19i3). D 
prescribes for it the severe penalty of death by stoning 
(173-5), and by the prohibition of the practice brings 
the composition of the Law Book into the seventh 
century B.C., whether under the reign of Manasseh 
(698-641 B.C.) or in the years following the accession 
of Josiah (639 B.C.) may bo left undetermined. Around 
the fundamental laws others were gradually grouped, 
and the Code was framed in the grand exhortations 
which had for their leading theme the love of Yahweh 
for His people, and the duty of Israel to love Him and 
cleave to Him alone in return. The large number of 
expressions common to D and Jeremiah ^ show 
that prophetic influences were at work in Israel's 
religion which were powerful enough to create a common 
vocabulary of thought and speech, in the midst of 
great individuality of purpose and expression. The 
Deuteronomic conceptions of history and moulds of 
speech may be traced in various parts of the OT, such as 
Joshua, Judges, and the Books of Ivings ; and it becomes 
quite impossible to account for them on the hypothesis 
of a retranslation into Hebrew of a translation into 
Aramaic by Ezra of cuneiform tablets originally written 
by Moses nine centuries before. 

The reforms of Josiah were designed to give effect 
to the Deuteronomic principle that Israel was a " holy " 
people (Dt. 76). But the overthrow of the Davidic 
monarchy seemed to endanger the bond which Yahweh 
had Himself created by choosing Israel as the agent 
of His purpose of revelation. To Ezekiel it was im- 
possible that Yahweh could thus allow His name to 
be " profaned " among the nations. A new Israel 
must arise, purified from its old sins, and gifted with 
spirit that it might walk in Yahweh's statutes and 
observe His judgments. So should they be His people 
and He would be their God (8624-28), as they returned 
once more to their fathers' land. For this regenerated 
nation Ezekiel designs a new sanctuary, which is 
solemnly filled with the glory of Yahweh, who promises 
to dwell there in the midst of the children of Israel 
(435-7). A scheme of worship is laid down for the 
future, the duties of the priesthood are defined, and 
appropriate sacrifices are prescribed. This is no 
repetition of D. It is no longer necessarj' to denounce 
the local shrines. The principle of the centralisation 
of the cultus is assumed, but a new arrangement is 
made concerning the minister at the altar. D had 
provided that the disestablished priests might come up 
to the metropolitan Temple and serve there with their 
brethren (I87-8). The Jerusalem clergy, however, 
would not admit the country members of their order 
to share either their functions or their income (2 K. 
239), and this difficulty appears to have been the 
beginning of a distinction between higher and lower 
ranks in the same service. Ezekiel for the first time 
announces a division of the sacred tribe into two 
branches, one of which shall minister to Yahweh and 
the other not. Access to the altar, admission to the 
sanctuary, shall be reserved for one particular family, 
the sons of Zadok (44i5f.). Here is a discrimination 
hitherto unknown. It is inexplicable had the Levitical 
Law embodied in P been then in existence. The 
Aaronic priesthood would have been already in posses- 
sion of the privileges which Ezekiel promises in the 
future to the Zadokites ; and the Levites, for whose 

1 Carpenter, Composition of the Hexateuch. 1902. pp. 147 151. 



degradation to menial offices Ezekiel endeavours to 
find an explanation, would have been long ago pro- 
hibited from aspiring to any other under pain of death. 
The ideal arrangements of Ezekiel for the theocracy 
of the restoration stand, therefore, midway between 
D and P. Under what circumstances, then, does P 
appear for the first time ? No clear traces of the 
L«vitical usage as codified in P present themselves 
in the early days of the Second Temple. Even Malachi 
identifies the Law of Moses with the legislation in Horeb, 
the " statutes and judgments " now summed up in 
Dt. 444!?. ; and the priests are " sons of Levi " (83), aa 
if the right of altar service still belonged (as in D) to 
the whole tribe. Not yet have the fuU priestly claims 
been embodied in sacred Law. They are first an- 
nounced, it would seem, at the great meeting held 
under Nohemiah on one autumn day at the end of 
September (444 B.c.),i when the people gathered in the 
great square before the water-gate (Neh. 81). A large 
wooden pulpit had been erected, and there, from early 
morning to midday, Ezra read aloud to the assembly 
out of " the book of the Law." The story is related 
after the type of the national assembly convoked by 
Josiah for the promulgation of the Deuteronomic 
Code (c/. 2 K. 232). The new Law stood in the same 
relation to the age of Ezra which D held to the seventh 
century. Josiah's reformation was celebrated by the 
observance of a Passover on principles unlaiown 
before (2 K. 2322 ; cf. Dt. 16) ; and similarly, according 
to Neh. 814, the Feast of Booths was held for seven 
days in joyous thanksgiving, concluding with a solemn 
assembly on the eighth day, in accordance with the 
ordinance of Lev. 2836. This is the introduction of 
the Priestly Code. 

Like the other great documents of the Pentateuch, 
P does not, however, appear to be all of one piece. It 
contains earlier and later materials, though they are 
aU combined in one historic framework, and united 
by certain common ideas. Just as D showed remark- 
able affinities with the language of Jeremiah, so some 
portions of P present strong resemblances to the ideas 
and phraseology of his younger contemporary Ezeldel. 
Through Ezekiel came the Divine promise (3726) 
of an everlasting covenant, and a sanctuarj' in Israel's 
midst for evermore : " And my dwelling shall be tdth 
them, and I will be to them for a God, and they shall 
be to me for a people " (27). " Sanctuary " is one of 
Ezekiel's favourite religious terms (thirty times) ; it 
occurs in P in the Pentateuch thirteen times (other- 
wise only in the song, Ex. 15i7). The Mosaic 
" sanctuary " is to be made (Ex. 258), " that I may 
dwell in their midst." 2 " And I will dwell in the midst 
of the children of Israel, and will be to them for a 
God " (Ex. 2945 ; cf. 67, " I will take you to me for a 
people, and I will be to you for a God "). The sanctu- 
ary accordingly is called the " dwelhng " (Ex. 259). 
It stood, like Ezekiel's Temple, in a court, and the 
camp was always so pitched that, like Ezekiel's sacred 
house, it should look towards the east. And as the 
prophet beheld the " glory of Yahweh " returning 
from the east and filling the house (Ex. 43i-6), so does 
P describe how, on the completion of the desert 
sanctuary, the " glory of Yahweh filled the dwelling " 
(Ex. 4O34). 

But the parallels with the language of Ezekiel are 
still more numerous in a small group of laws now 
recognised in Lev. 17-26.' They are bound together 

1 Accordine to the usual chronoloiry. 

* This word (RV " among ") ia of very frequent occurrence in P 
tr> express the Divine Presence in Israel; ef. 2045, Lev. I031, 
I616. 2232. 26ii. etc. 

» Cf. Carpenter. Composition ol Ihe HexaUuch, pp. 277-284. 



130 



INTRODUCTION TO THE PENTATEUCH 



by the frequent recurrence of phrases such as " I am 
Yahweh," ' I am Yahweh your God," " I Yahweh am 
holy," " 1 am Yahweh which hallow (sanctify) you," 
and many others. The sanctuary must be carefully 
guarded from defilement, and the priesthood must 
maintain its ceremonial purity. The social and moral 
legislation of Lev. 18-20 contains rules of conduct 
that may well be of venerable antiquity. Some addi- 
tions have probably been inserted by later hands in 
adapting the collection to the general scheme of P ; 
but tlierc is good reason to believe that, with its con- 
cluding exhortation (Lev. 26), it once formed a small 
legislative corpus by itself, standing midway Ix'twcen 
D and P. Its special concern for the sanctity of Israel 
has gained for it the name of the Holiness Code, and 
it is sometimes designated by the sj-mbol Ph. 

By what steps the final incorporation of the several 
documents into our Pentateuch was at last effected 
cannot Ix) precisely determined. It is probable that 
JE had been united with T> into a continuous work 
of history and legislation in the early years of the 
Captivity, when the story of Israel's past was gathered 
up, and the records of the monarchy were compiled. 
The hand which fitted JED into the framework sup- 
plied by P cannot be identified. There are even 
indications that the " Diatessaron " JEDP received 
some additions, notably in the long repetition (Ex. 
35-40), some time after the first combination was 
effected. 

The Pentateuch is thus an epitome of the history of 
Israel's religion.* Like some great cathedral which has 
enshrined the devotion of centuries, its growth must 
be inferred from the relations of its parts among them- 
selves, and the points of contact which can be dis- 
covered between them and the beliefs and usages 
recorded elsewhere. It embodies traditions of im- 
memorial antiquity, and its authors shape to their own 
conceptions elements of ancient Babylonian lore. It 
is not stirprising, therefore, that it should frankly 
reveal that the ancestors of the people were polytheists. 
Beyond the Euphrates the forefathers " served other 
gods " (Jos. 242 [E]), and Jacob's wives consequently 
bring their " strange gods" with them (Gen, 362-4), 
among them being the household images which Rachel 
carried off, and for which Laban so plaintively inquired, 
" ^^.^ly hast thou stolen my gods?" (Gen. 31 19,30). 
Such plurality lies Iwhind some of the narratives of 
the primeval age, and even gleams through the tradi- 
tions of a later day.^ Three stages may be traced in 
Israels long development as it rises to the full height 
of its gieat task. They are marked by the three codes 
of Law successively embodied in the three great docu- 
ments JE, D, and'P. 

The ascription of these codes to Moses follows the 
convention of ancient nations, by which, as Prof. 
Robertson Smith showed,' the continuity of the legal 
system was maintained. The new Law was regarded 
as a development of the old, and the same sanction 
was preserved without disturbance. And Israel, like 
its neighbours in Egypt or Babylonia, unhesitatingly 
referred them to a Divine source. Beside the Nile, 
Osiris was Ix^licved to have ordained the worship of 
the heavenly powers, appointed the offerings, prescribed 
the ceremonies, and even composed the words and 
music of the sacred liturgies. Out of the deep came 
Ea, lord of wisdom, who proclaimed laws to the 

> On the lubject of tlie rest ot the article, see alao the article on 
"The RellKlon of Iflrael." 

■- &)mpare the lancuage ot Jepbthah, Jg. 1123-24, where 
Yahweh of Israel anrl Chemoeb of Ammon are represented as 
pitted aRainst each other. 

< The OT in the Jewish Church. Zai ed. p. 384. 



dwellers by the shore of the Persian Gidf. An ancient 
collection of Babylonian precepts, known as the Book 
of Ea, defined the duties of the king. The famous 
Code of Hammurabi (who reigned about 2100 B.C.'), 
discovered in 1902 at Susa engraved on a block of 
black diorite nearly eight feet high, was presented to 
the king by the sun-god Shamash, " judge of heaven 
and earth '' (p. 51). This was the mode in which the 
reverence of antiquity for the mysteries of religion 
found expression. The sanctions of law on which 
national welfare and social order depended could be 
no other than Divine. 

The earliest legislation in JE, accordingly, marks 
the first stage of Israel's religious observance. The 
command, " Thou shalt have none other gods before 
mo " (Ex. 2O3), does not deny the existence of other 
gods, but it pledges Israel to the sole worship of Y^'ahweh. 
Loyalty to Him who had brought them out of Egj-pt 
and given them their land demanded that they should 
honour Him alone. But the requirements of the cultus 
are extremely simple. They may make no images of 
gold or silver, but they may re-ar an earthen altar for 
their sacrifices anywhere. The local sanctuaries, con- 
se.crated by age-long tradition, stood beside the fertilis- 
ing well, the sacred tree, or on the hill-top. At such 
places the " firstborn " of Yahweh (Ex. 422) might pay 
the sacred dues and keep the annual feasts. Separating 
themselves from the idolatrous usages of the Canaanito 
peoples, they must remember that they were hallowed 
or set apart to their God. What kind of conduct did 
this imply ? The only holiness rule in the First Legis- 
lation is a food law (Ex. 2231) : " Y''e shall be holy 
men unto me ; therefore ye shall not eat any flesh 
that is torn of beasts in the field ; ye shall cast it to 
the dogs." Here is the first faint note of the call to 
ritual purity which was afterwards to grow so exacting. 
This kind of holiness has nothing to do with morality 
such as is enforced in the Ten Words now incorporated 
in E (Ex. 20), but the ethical element was growing 
stronger and stronger. Antique legend might depict 
Yahweh as going to find out whether the wickedness 
of Sodom and Gomorrah was really as great as report 
alleged, but to Abraham Ho is already the " judge of 
all the earth," who must do right. Monotheism is 
trembling into fidl consciousness. Yet, while Elijah 
and Ehsha led the contest for Yahweh against the 
Tyrian Baal, they left the asheras or tive-poles at the 
high places untouched, and made no attack on the 
calf-worship at Bethel, which Amos and Hosea do- 
noimced aftenvards as " Samaria's sin." The first 
codes of JE, therefore, may be taken to represent the 
general aim of religion at the beginning of the eighth 
century b.c. 

But the higher prophecy of that great age demanded 
something more. It reached the sublime conviction 
of the sole Deity of Yahweh. That majestic Power, 
which reached from the sky to the underworld (Am. 92), 
encompassed the whole earth, and guided the move- 
ments of other nations as well as Israel Its champions, 
there'forc, demanded the extinction of all idolatries. 
Doom must descend upon a disloyal people, and Isaiah 
could describe the Assyrian invader as the " rod of 
Yahweh's anger " ; but its strokes would not be fatal ; 
Zion should be purged and become a " citadel of 
righteousness, the Faithful City." The Assyrians 
eame and Jeru.salem survived the shock, but in the 



thirtieth year of his reitm with 2340 b.c. Ediiard Meyer, Ofch. de$ 
AWrlhumsfi i. U. p. b6i>. iis>iuiis bin nign to 1968-1!M6 B.o. 
Ryle In Oentsis. CB. (1914). tentatively suggests about 2150. 11. 
167 : but on p. 1 79 cites Ungnad's date 2130-2088. Driver, about 
2100. 



INTRODUCTION TO THE PENTATEUCH 



131 



next century under Manasseh the very existence of 
Yahwehism was endangered. AH kinds of foreign cults 
were encouraged ; they were pursued by the court, 
they wore installed in the Temple. In a single sen- 
tence, " Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, 
till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another " 
(2 K. 21 16), the historian describes the first of those 
martyr-ages which were again and again to test 
Israel's fidelity. Under such circumstances prophecy 
girded itself for a new effort. It could no longer 
remain abstract and ideal ; it must enter the field of 
reform and cleanse the national worship of all cor- 
ruptions, old and new. " Cast out every Canaanite 
or Assyrian abomination, destroy idol and tree-pole 
and pillar, abolish every altar where the sacred rites 
may be contaminated, admit no sacrifice but at the 
place of Yahweh's own choice " — this was the pro- 
gramme of the Deuteronomic Code. This was the 
practical side of prophecy, as it sought to secure the 
fruits of the labours of the century before. Holiness 
now meant something more than abstinence from meat 
not properly killed. It was the response of Israel, 
small as it might be among the nations, to the gracious 
choice of Yahweh (Dt. 76-8). No ritual could ade- 
quately express this response. Reverent obedience 
might, indeed, fulfil outward commands, but the 
Divine love appealed for something more. The whole 
moral and spiritual energies of the people must be 
dedicated to their great Deliverer : " Thou shalt love 
Yahweh thy God with all thine heart, and with all 
thy soul, and with all thy might " (Dt. 65). 

This far-reaching principle marks the second stage 
of Israel's legislative advance. On this basis the first 
Codes were recast ; outwardly in favour of the sanctuary 
at Jerusalem, inwardly in favour of a worship which 
could be practised everywhere " in spirit and in truth." 
But there were many steps to be trodden before that 
consummation could be reached. The Deuteronomic 
principle was the immediate antecedent of Jeremiah's 
vision of a " new covenant " which should supersede 
the old by writing the Divine teaching on men's hearts 
(Jer. 3l33f.). But for a time the pressure of events 
was too' strong. The Temple which Josiah so dili- 
gently cleansed was again defiled. In 586 B.C. the 
troops of Nebuchadrezzar entered Jerusalem and 
burnt it. Were the truths attained by the prophets 
to be lost ? Was the religion of Yahweh to be ex- 
tinguished ? 

Among the exiles was the priest-prophet Ezekiel. 
As he looked ba<;k over the past, the story of Israel's 
unfaithfulness cut him to the heart. But his convic- 
tion of Yahweh's transcendent purpose triumphs over 
all hopelessness. From the death of sin the nation 
shall arise once more, dowered with a new heart, 
ready to keep the judgments of their God. So once 
more does Prophecy prepare in his person to wear 
the mask of Law. Through the clear air he sees the 
ancient land ; it is divided anew. The holy house 
stands again upon the holy mount. The holy tribe 
is parted into two orders — the priests who minister 
at the altar to Yahweh Himself, and the Levites who 
shall keep the gate and kill the victims for sacrifice, 
but shall not come near to any of the holy things. 
There would Yahweh make His " dwelling " ^RV 
" tabernacle ") with His people, and would be tneir 
God (Ez/^k. 4379 and 3727). So the way is prepared 
for the third stage of Pentatouchal legislation. Early 
drafts for the development of the conception of holi- 
ness are embedded in the oldest portions of the Holi- 
ness Code (Ixv. 17-26), and at length a new programme 
for the future is produced in the shape of an ideal 



delineation of the past. The Deuteronomic Code 
belonged to a polity that had ceased to be. The 
monarchy was gone, it needed no more regulation. 
New elements of thought and life had risen into im- 
portance ; new ideas, especially the sense of national 
sinfulness, now needed expression. This was the 
object of the Priestly Code produced under Ezra and 
Nehemiah. Its fundamental principle is laid down 
in one of its oldest eections in the sublime command, 
" Be ye holy, for I, Yahweh, your God, am holy " 
(Lev. 192). Yahweh was holy because His nature 
transcended everything earthly and unclean. His 
holiness really involved the totality of His attributes 
as deity. In this sense truly He was beyond Israel's 
imitation. But His people could keep themst^lves 
from everything defiling and impure ; and this kind 
of holiness had a moral as well as a ceremonial char- 
acter. On one side it might express itself in a variety 
of minute ordinances, designed to secure immunity 
for certain groups of persons from ritual pollution ; 
on the other, it might embrace all social relations under 
one comprehensive injunction, " Thou shalt love thy 
neighbour as thyself " (Lev. 19i8). And to ensure 
the discharge of these demands for sanctity, the sacred 
Presence was conceived as abiding in the midst of the 
nation, and thus distinguishing it from any other on 
the face of the earth. It is, then, hardly surprising 
that the Priestly Code should contain prescriptions 
that seem incompatible. On the one side is the whole 
scheme of holy things — vessels, robes, furniture, and 
sanctuary ; of holy persons — the lower Levites, the 
superior priests, with the High Priest as the unique 
representative of the whole nation before God ; of 
holy days from week to week, of solemn festivals, 
culminating in tlie great annual ceremony of confession 
and propitiation, known in later usage as " The Day." 
On the other hand is the sublime picture of the Holy 
One symboUcally " dwelling " in His people's midst. 
He demands that they shall resemble Him, and how 
can these minute details of ritual serve that end ? 
In the Ught of fuller truth we can see their inconsistency, 
but in the light of history we can also see how needful 
each element was to the other. Ezra and the Scribes 
completed Israel's rehgion. The Law was the vehicle 
through which the gains of the higher prophecy were 
preserved and incorporated in the national life. The 
framers of the Levitical Code did what the Isaiahs 
had been unable to do ; but without the Isaiahs they 
could not have done it. They created what a later 
seer could describe as " the righteous nation which 
keepeth truth " (Is. 262). In the Temple service and 
in the simple worship of the synagogue the emotions 
of joy and thankfulness were poured forth in hymn 
and prayer. Obedience became a dehght, the Law 
was Israel's privilege. It restored the soul, it en- 
lightened the eyes (Ps. I97-14) ; the secret of happi- 
ness lay in meditating on it day and night (Ps. I2) ; 
the persecutor might lay his snares, but the loyal 
worshipper would perform the statutes for ever, even 
to the end (Ps. II9110-112). The piety of the Pss. 
is the fruit of this call to holiness. The " saints," so 
full of love and trust, waiting for Yahweh to show 
them the path of life ; the poor and meek, so patient 
under suffering ; the faithful, who endured torture 
and death rather than disobey the commandment — 
these were the holy people nurtured under the Law. 
Here was the power which nerved Judaism to resist 
the attack of Antiochus Epiphanes (in December 
168 B.C. an altar to 01vmpi?.n Zeus was erected 
on the great altar in the T.>mple court). Thus 
was the way prepared for prophctism to reappear 



132 



INTRODUCTION TO THE PENTATEUCH 



in the still nobler form of tho Gosp^.!. Its issontial 
aim was set free from tho limitations of ancient 
ritual, and transtigured into the frnal goal of all 
rchgion, " Bo yo pt^rfoct, as your heavenly Father is 
perfect." 

Literature. — Wellhauscn, Die Composition des^ Hexa- 
teucli.t. Prolegomena to the History of Israel ; Kuenen, 
The Ilcxateuch ; Driver, Literature of the OT (9th ed.. 
1913) ; articles in HDB and EBi ; Carpent<;r and Har- 



ford, Composition of the Hexateuch (1902); Addis, 
The Documents of the Ilrratc^ich ; A. T. Chapman, 
Introduction to the Hexateuch ; McNeilc, Deuteronomy, 
Its Place in lievelation (1'J12) ; D. C. Simpson, Penta- 
teuchal Criticism (1914); Eisclen^ The Books of the 
Pentateuch ; Skinner, The Divine Names in Genesis 
(1914) ; commentaries in ICC, West. C, CB, Ccnt.B, 
KEH. HK, KHC; Stcuemsigol, Lehrb^uch der Einleilung 
in das AT (m2). 



GENESIS 

By the editor 



The English title of the book goes back through the 
Vulg. to the LXX. It stands for the origin or creation 
of the world, the subject of the opening chapters. 
The usual Heb. title is Bereshith, " In the beginning," 
taken, as was commonly done, from the first word of 
the book. It is composed for the most part from the 
three documents, J, E, P, which are found also in 
Ex., Nu., and Jos. The general grounds for the 
analysis may be seen in the Introduction to the Penta- 
teuch. The detailed analysis of this book, with reasons, 
is given in the commentary. In spite of persistent 
assertions to the contrary, there is no room for reason- 
able doubt that these documents are really present, 
and that the distribution of the matter among them 
has been in large measure successfully achieved. The 
sections belonging to P have been identified with the 
greatest certamty. But while it is frequently incon- 
testable that a section belongs to JE, the fusion of 
the two documents has often been effected with such 
skill that then- disentanglement is inevitably both 
dehcate and difficult. For the non-Mosaic character 
of the book and the date of the documents it incor- 
porates see the Introduction to the Pentateuch. 

From the literary we pass to the historical problems. 
It is pointed out elsewhere (pp. 123f.) that even the 
later books of the Pent, contain many inconsistencies 
which prove that they cannot be a record of hteral 
history. This is even more emphatically the case 
with Gen. The Hterary analysis is not based exclusively 
or even mainly on differences in vocabulary and style, 
but on mconsistencies m statement which prove that 
"the record is not impeccable in its accuracy. Here it 
may suffice to mention the discrepancies in the narra- 
tives of Creation and the Flood, the different accounts 
given as to the origin of the names Beersheba, Bethel, 
and Israel, the variations as to the names of Esau's 
wives. The story as it stands raises insuperable 
chronological difficulties. As illustrations we may 
take Sarah's adventure with Pharaoh when she was 
more than 65 and with Abimelech when she was 
89; the sending of Jacob to marry into his mother's 
family when he was 77, and his actual marriage at 
84 (p. 1.57) ; the representation of Benjamin as quite 
youthful when he was the father of ten sons ; the 
crowding of all the events in Gen. 38, together with the 
birth of two sons to Perez (46i2), into 22 years, so 
that Judah becomes a grandfather in much less than 
10 years. 

Apart from internal inconsistencies there are in- 
trinsic incredibilities. That the story of the Deluge 
is not unvarnished history is shown in the Introduction 
to it. The narrative of creation cannot be reconciled 
with our present knowledge except by special pleading 
which verges on dishonesty. The period allowed for 
human history is far too short; nor can we suppose 
that angels mated with women and begat a race of 
demigo<£ (^i-4)- 



Once this is recognised, better justice can be done 
to the character of the book, and the extent to which 
it contains actual history can be made the subject 
of dispassionate inquiry. It is a modern prejudice to 
suppose that liistorical inaccuracy is incompatible with 
genuine revelation, or that myth and legend are un- 
worthy vehicles for the communication of spiritual 
truth. Myth and legend, like poetry and parable, 
often convey rehgious teaching much more effectively 
than bare historical narrative. 

The Kile between myth and legend is hard to draw, 
but the general distinction is clear. Dr. Skinner says : 
" The practically important distuiction is that the 
legend does, and the myth does not, start from the 
plane of historic fact. The myth is properly a story 
of the gods, originating in an impression produced on 
the primitive mind bj' the more imposing phenomena of 
nature, while legend attaches itself to the personages 
and movements of real history " (ICC, p. vui). Much 
in Gen. 1-1 1 is of mjiihical origin ; but it has been 
purified m various degrees by the rehgious genius of 
Israel and the spirit of revelation. The most naked 
piece of mythology is the story of the angel marriages 
(61-4), which was once, no doubt, much grosser. 
There are mythical elements in the story of the Tower 
of Babel. The narrative of Eden is rich in mythical 
traits : the garden of Yahweh where He walks after 
the heat of the day is over ; the formation of man 
from the dust and of woman from the rib of man ; the 
magical trees, one conferring immortahty, the other 
supernatural knowledge ; the sei-pent gifted with 
wisdom and the power of speech ; the cherubim and 
the wliirhng fiery sword. The priestly narrative of 
creation (1 1-240) is ultimately derived from a frankly 
mythical story, still known to us in its Babylonian 
forms, but the striking feature is the aU but complete 
obliteration of mythology. The same applies to the 
story of the Deluge. But if this origmated in a 
historical event it belongs primailly to the category 
of legend, though in Babylonia it is legend turned 
into myth. Possibly the s'torj' of Cain and Abel, the 
curse on Canaan, and the blessing of Shem and Japheth 
refer to the relations of historic or prehistoric peoples. 

In the patriarchal history the mythical element is 
naturally much less prominent. The wrestUng of 
Jacob (3224-32) is the most striking example. The 
story of his encounter with the angels at Mahanaim 
(32 if.) may be a faded variant of the same theme. 
His vision at Betliel of the angels passing up and down 
to heaven on the ladder (28i2) and the visit of the 
three heavenly beings to Abraham (18) have also a 
mythical colour. There may possibly be some con- 
nexion between the twelve sons of Jacob and the 
twelve signs of the Zodiac. We should have to recog- 
nise the thoroughly mythical character of the patri- 
archal narratives il wo supposed with E. Meyer that 
the i)atriarchs were originally deities, or with Winckler 



134 



GENESIS 



that the atoriee are to bo interpreted iu terms of the 
astral mythology. The tangible ovidonoe for the 
former view is extremely slight, and much of it capable 
of a less far-fetched explanation ; the latter would 
involve the acceptance of a far-reaching theory which, 
in the judgment of most scholars, haa not been sub- 
stantiated, while this interpretation in particular is 
open to additional objections of its own. A more 
tenable view would be that the leading personaUtiea 
were nations or tribes. It is in fact probable that 
at certain points tribal is disguised as personal history. 
Po&sibly, as already mentioned, Cain and Abel, more 
probably Shem, Japheth, and Canaan, should be so 
interpreted. So also the story of Judah in 38 (cf. p. 162). 
Similarly, the story of Jo.seph'a residence in Egypt, 
where he was subsequently joined by his father and 
brothers, might point te successive Hebrew migrations 
into Egypt. The birth of Benjamin after Jacob's 
return from Paddan-aram might express the fact that 
the tribe was formed after the settlement in Palestine. 
Similar interpretations might be put on the separation 
of Abraham and Lot, the story of Reuben and Bilhah, 
and that of Shechem and Dinah. Still, many of these 
instances are ver\' dubious. It is important to observe 
that large sections of the histoi-y do not lend them- 
aelvea to this interpretation. In the main the narra- 
tives about Abraham do not, nor those about Isaac, 
nor yet those about Joseph. The two most plausible 
instances are those of Jacob and Esau, and Jacob and 
Laban. The former are supposed to reflect the relations 
between Israel and Edom, the latter those between 
Israel and Syria. The narrative itself sugge-sts this 
interpretation for the former. The prenatal struggles 
of Jacob and Eeau prefigure the struggles of the nations, 
the elder of which is to serve the yoimger (2523). 
This is practically endorsed in the blessings of Isaac 
(2727-29,39!), but with the addition that Esau will 
ultimately break off the yoke of Jacob. Yet the 
actual story is far from reflecting the later relations. 
Of course the bitterest antagonism between the two 
peoples belongs to the period after the destruction of 
Jerusalem, and such a hymn of hate as Is. 34 or 
63 1-6 would not have expressed Israel's feeling in the 
pre-exilic period. But Israels subjugation of Edom 
in war is not verj' aptly represented by the narrative 
in Gen. Jacob buys the birthright by driving a hard 
bargain with Esau ; ho obtains the bl&ssing by cheating 
and falsehood. Esau's anger is not pushed to ex- 
tremities. Jacob secures Ids brother's friendsliip by 
grovelling submis.sion and a very substantial present, 
and there is no suggestion of any ho.stility after his 
settlement in Palestine. Nor docs the story of Jacob 
and Laban, closing with the friendly compact not to 
violate each other's territories, at all agree Avith the 
bitter and prolonged antagonism between Israel and 
Syria in the period of the monarchy. 

The various attempts to interpret the patriarchs 
as gods, nations, or tribes are thus open to very 
serious objections. It ia accordingly safer to recogni.so 
that the loading figures in the story were actual 
personahtics. But tliis, of course, does not guarantee 
the stories in det.aU. The discrepancies sufticicntly 
show this. The sjimo incident is related with infer- 
ence to more than one character or different accovmta 
are given of tho same thing. Comparative study shows 
the reappearance in our book of tales and viotifs 
familiar in tho folklore of other nations. Few things 
arc more famihar than the way in which incidents or 
sayings originally anonymous gravitate to famous 
names. And it ib not inopportune to point out tliat 
archaeological investigation has so far done nothing 



to rehubiMtato any stories which a sober criticism has 
doubted, or to give the patriarchs any definite position 
in the history of their time. The crucial case here is 
that of Ch^orlaomers expedition (14), and this ifl 
examined in the introduction to that chapter. FidcUty 
in depicting local or national conditions is no guarantee 
of historicity, esix-cially where conditions remain stable 
for many centuries. 

Attention should be called to one feature which has 
played a prominent part in the creation or moulding 
of narratives in our lx)ok. Many of the stories are 
setiological, that w, they supply an answer to the 
question, What gave rise to such customs, instincts, 
conditions, names as those with which we are familiar ? 
The story of Eden answers several such questions 
(p. 139). The story of Bal>el not only accounts for 
the existence of an unfinished or dilapidated tower, 
but explains why it is that although peoples have all 
a common parentage, they speak such different 
languages. Similar examples are the accounts as to 
the origin of the arts and modes of life, music, metal 
work, city building, vine culture and the manufacture 
of wine, the pastoral occupation. So, too, the origin 
of such a rite as circumcision or the taboo on tho 
sinew of the hip, natural phenomena such as the 
rainbow and the desolate condition of the Dead Sea 
region. The land system of Egypt, so different from 
that of the Hebrews, is traced to Joseph's pohcy of 
turning the necessities of the famine to the royad 
interest. Explanations are given as to the origin of 
names : Eve, Cain, Seth, Noah, Abraham, Moab, 
Ben-ammi, Ishmae), Isaac, Jacob, Edom, Jacob's 
children, Perez, Manasseh, and Ephraim ; and among 
names of places, Beer-lahai-roi, Zoar, Beersheba, 
Bethel, Mizpah, Mahanaim, Peniel, Succoth, Abel- 
mizraim. 

A few words may be added on the religious and 
moral value of tho book. Happily this does not 
depend upon its historical accuracy. Nothing shows 
more impressively the power of Israel's rehgion than 
a comparison between the polytheistic and unmoral 
stories of Creation and the Flood in their Babylonian 
forms and the pure monotheism and stem ethical 
quaUty of the Heb. narratives. Heathen material 
has been used, but it has been fillod with the spirit 
of Israel's rehgion (p. 51). The conception of God, 
especially in the older documents, is often anthropo- 
morphic, but genuine religion does not really suffer 
through a quality for which allowance can rcatlily be 
made, which was specially helpful in earlier days for the 
concrete and vivid reality it gave to the idea of God, 
and whicli still invests the stories with much of their 
deathles.s charm. If tlie theological and ethical state- 
ments scattered tlirough tlie book were to bo collected 
they would include much moral and spiritual truth 
clothed with a worthy cxpres.sion. But what is most 
precious would have escai)cd us. It is not the expUcit 
formulation of principles and behefa, nor even these 
distilled from the narratives, it is the narratives 
themselves as they stand which jneld us most for 
edification, guidance, and inspiration. The records 
hold up the mirror to nature, they depict for us actual 
situations in which our common thoughts and emotions 
find ample play. Many types of character are here, 
np lifele-ss blocks on which the moralist sots off his 
wares, but warm and living, a human heart beating 
in the breast and human blood throbbing through the 
veins. As contributions to scientific history onr esti- 
mate of their value may be reduced ; as channels of 
uistruction, warning, stimulus, they remain unimpaired, 
we might say enhanced in value, since attention is 



GENESIS, I. l-II. 4a 



135 



now concentrated on the abiding content rather than 
the transitory form. The Burcst way in which to gain 
from them the best they have to give us is not to be 
scelung over-anxiousl}' for their moral, but to permit 
them to make their own impression through intimate 
familiarity with them, aided by close study of the 
best which has been written about them. 

Literature. — Commentaries : (a) Driver (West. C), 
Bennett (Cent. B), Ryle (CB), Mitchell ; (6) Skinner 
(ICC), SpuneU; (c) *DiUmann (KEH), *Dehtzsch. 
Holzinger (KHC), Gunkel (HK, SAT), Procksch; [d) 
F. W. Robertson, Lectures on Genesis, Dods (Ex.B), 
Strahan, Hehreio Ideals. Other Literature : Discussions 
in OT Introductions and in Dictionaries of the Bible ; 
Ball, Genesis (SBOT Heb.), Wade, ThcBook of Genesis, 
Bacon, The Genesis o/ Genesis. Budde, Die bibliscke 
Urgeschichte, Ryle, Early Narratives of Genesis, Gordon, 
The Early Traditions of Genesis. 

I. l-II. 4a. The Priestly Story of Creation. — 
This section belongs to the Priestly Document (P). 
This is shown by the use of several of its character- 
istic terms, bj- the constant repetition of the formulas, 
and by the formal arrangement. P's interest in the 
origin of religious institutions is displayed in the 
explanation of the origin of the Sabbath. The lofty 
monotheism of the section is also characteristic of 
his theological position. 

The story rests upon a much older tradition, 
mainly, it would seem, Babylonian in its origin. 
There are several striking parallels with the Baby- 
lonian creation legend. The " deep " or watery 
chaoa (tehom) (I2) corresponds to the Babylonian 
Tiamat. Darkness is over this chaos. There is a 
rending of sky and earth from each other, and the 
creation of a solid expanse or firmament which divides 
the upper waters from the waters of the earth, and 
in wliich the heavenly bodies are placed. There are 
also serious differences, due largely to the absence 
of the polytheistic and mythological element from the 
Biblical account (p. 51). Even if the Spirit of God 
that broods over the abyss is a remnant of myth- 
ology, j'et the Hebrew account represents God as 
existing before the creative process begins; and as 
willing and controlling it, whereas in the Babylonian 
legend the gods come into existence during the pro- 
cess. Nor is there any trace of opposition between 
the abyss and the creative power in Genesis ; though 
it is not said that chaos was created by God, it rather 
seems to have an independent existence beside Him. 
The Phoenician cosmogony presents striking parallels, 
such as the existence at first of chaos and spirit, 
and the egg, from which the universe was produced, 
which seems to be implied in the Hebrew narrative 
in the reference to the brooding of the Spirit. It 
is probable, in spite of the striking differences, 
that the Biblical account has its ultimate origin in 
the Babylonian mythology rather than that both are, 
as Dillmann thinks, independent developments of 
a primitive Semitic myth. Gunkel has argued 
forcibly that the work of weation was explained by 
analogy from the rebirth of the world in spring after 
the winter, or in the morning after the night, and 
that the phenomena depicted can have been sug- 
gested only in an alluvial country like Babylonia. 
But it has derived elements from other sources, espe- 
cially Phoenician and possibly Egyptian. It appears 
to have been formed in Palestine, for the puri- 
fication of the story would involve a long process, 
and one which would be complete only at a late 
point in the pre-exilic period. In its present form 
it is probably not earliei than the exile, and was 



presumably written on Babylonian soil. But it is 
most unlikely that the Priestly writer, belonging, as 
he did, to the rigid school of Ezekiel, should have 
borrowed consciously from Babylonian mythology. 

At what time this myth reached Israel is muich 
disputed. Some think the Hebrews brought it with 
them from Mesopotamia ; others place it in the period 
known to us from the Tell el-Amarna tablets (about 
1450 B.C.) when Babylonian culture exerted great 
influence on Western Asia and Egypt ; others again 
think of the period of Assyrian rule over Judah. 
It is unlikely that the Hebrews, even if they brought 
the Babylonian legend with them from Mesopo- 
tamia, would preserve it through all their subsequent 
experiences. More probably they derived it from the 
Canaanites, who may have learnt it from the Baby- 
lonians in the Tell el-Amarna period (see p. 51). We 
can thus account for the Canaanite elements that 
appear to have been incorporated. Some scholars 
hold that the Hebrews elaborated the creation doctrine 
at a late period. This does not at all follow from the 
silence of the earlier prophets, even if, as is not 
unlikely, the creation passages in Amos are a later 
addition (pp. 551, 554). For these prophets had little 
occasion to speak of it. And there are references in 
the other literature which seem to be early. This is 
specially true of the creation story in Gen. 2. And 
in Solomon's dedication words at the consecration 
of the Temple, restored by Wellhausen from the 
LXX (p. 298), we read " Yahweh hath set the sun 
in the heavens." So also in Ex. 20ii, which, even 
if a later addition to the Decalogue, is probably 
pre-exilic, we read that " in six days Yahweh made 
heaven and earth." It would be strange if, when 
the surrounding peoples had creation narratives, 
Israel had none. 

Whether the Priestly writer himself originated the 
division into six days is uncertain. It is clearly 
later than the enumeration of the works as eight. 
For in order to get eight works into six days it has 
been necessary to put two works on the third and 
two on the sixth day ; and in neither case is the 
pair well matched ; in the former we have the 
separation of land and water combined with the 
creation of vegetation, in the latter land-animals and 
man are created on the same day, though from the 
lofty position assigned to man, we should have 
expected his creation to have taken place on a day 
reserved for it. But the six days' work and the 
seventh day's rest are probably not due to the Priestly 
writer. The Sabbath rest for God is so anthropo- 
morphic an idea, that P, who does not represent 
God as subject to human limitations and affections, 
must have borrowed it from an older source. Both 
the six days' work and seventh day's rest are found 
in Ex. 2O11. If this is dependent on our passage, 
it yields no evidence for an earlier origin of the six 
days' scheme. But although it does not occur in 
the Deuteronomic version of the Decalogue, the 
reason for the commandment substituted in Dt. 615 
probably had its origin in the humane spirit of the 
Deuteronomic legislation. The differences between 
Ex. 2O11 and Gen. 22 are also of a kind to exclude 
the dependence of the former on the latter. It may, 
therefore, be assumed that not only the division of 
creation into eight works but the period of six days 
lay ready to the author's hand. As it is not found 
in the Babylonian or Phoenician cosmogonies, it 
seems probable that the six days' scheme is of Israel- 
itish origin. The eight works may have been borrowed 
ultimately from a foreign source. 



136 



GENESIS. I. l-II. 4a 



Those who are interested in the once burning 
question as to the relation between this narrative and 
modern science should consult the very thorough 
discussion in Driver's Commentary. Here it must 
suffice to say that the value of the narrative is not 
scientific but religious ; that it imperils faith to 
insist on literal accuracy in a story which can 
only by unjusLiliablc forcing be made to yield it ; that 
it was more in harmony with the method of inspira- 
tion to take current views and purify them so tliat 
they might be fit vehicles of religious truth than to 
anticipate the progress of research by revealing 

f»rematurely what men could in due time discover 
or themselves ; and finally that even if this narra- 
tive could be harmonised with our present knowledge, 
we should have the task of harmonising the very 
different narrative in the second chapter both with the 
present story and with modern science. (See further 
p. 12.) 

L 1-5. — Since the formula " These are the genera- 
tions of " is usually placed by P at the beginning 
of a section, whereas here it occurs at the end (24a), 
it is thought by many that its present position is 
due to its removal from the beginning of this chapter, 
and that the story opened with the words " These 
are the generations of the heaven and of the earth." 
But this implies a different use of " generations " from 
what we find elsewhere in P, who employs it to express 
what is produced by the person mentioned. The 
clause may be an addition. Several scholars connect 
I with 3, rendering " In the beginning when God 
created the heaven and the earth (now the earth 
.... the waters), then God said, Let there be 
light : and there was light." This makes the creation 
of light the main point, the creation of heaven and 
earth serving simply to date God's command " Let 
there be light." But surely the creation of light 
thus receives an excessive emphasis, while the placing 
of 2 in a parenthesis makes the sentence very awk- 
ward and involved. It is better to retain the RV 
rendering, according to which i is an independent 
sentence. It is possible that this verse narrates 
the creation of the primaeval chaos, described in 2 ; 
but, since heaven and earth are cosmos rather than 
chaos, it is far more likely that it gives in a 
summary form what is to be told in detail in the 
rest of the chapter. To us the word " created " 
most naturally suggests to create out of nothing. 
But whether this was the writer's view or not, the 
term probably docs not express it. Its meaning is 
uncertain ; most usually it is given as " to cut ' or 
"to carve." It is characteristic of, and is generally, 
though not invariably, found in late writings, but 
it does not follow that it must be a comparatively 
late word. Neither here nor elsewhere is Scripture 
committed to the doctrine of absolute creation. 
Heb. II3* does not assert creation out of nothing; 
it denies creation from " things which do appear," 
i.e. out of the phenomenal. Basilides the Gnostic, 
who taught in the former part of the second century 
A.D., was perhaps the first to teach it (see Hatch, 
Hibberi Leclurea, pp. 195f.) ; earlier statements often 
quoted may be otherwise explained. 2 describes 
the condition of things before this Divine action 
began. " I'he earth," as we know it, had not come 
into being, but the ^vriter uses the word to describe 
the formless mass, in which were confused together 
the elements God would disentangle to make tlie 
ordered imiverse. This chaos was illumined by no 
ray of light, the deep lay under a tliick pall of dark- 
□ess, and over its surface the spirit of God was already 



brooding (tng.), as a bird on the eggs in its nest. Are 
we to suppose that the brooding has a similar result ? 
Milton's invocation to the Spirit : 

" Thou from the first 
Wast present, and with iuij,'hty wiiiRs outspread. 
Dove-like satst brooding on the vast abyss, 
And niad'st it pregnant : " 

corresponds to the impression made on the modern 
reader ; but it ia questionable whether it is that 
intended by the writer, who regards creation as 
achieved simply by God's word. The term " spirit of 
God " is not to be interpreted through later theo- 
logical ufsage and identified with the Holy Spirit ; 
more probably it is an expression for the life-giving 
energy of God. Perhaps we have hero a relic of a 
mythological feature in the original story, which 
may have told how the gods came into existenca 
through this brooding over the world-egg, a thought 
which the severe monotheism of Israel could not 
tolerate. 

Such, then, was this dark chaotic confusion before 
God Himself began to act upon it. There arc eight 
creative acts, each introduced with the formula "And 
God said." There is no manipulation of matter by 
God's fingers, but all is achieved by God's word, which 
is living and active, and instinct with Divine power. 
" By this effortless word God called the various orders 
of creation into existence and carried to completion 
His stupendous task. Here there is no conflict with 
the hostile demon of darkness and chaos as in the 
Babylonian myth, no struggle to bend the reluctant 
matter to His will, no laborious shaping and mould- 
ing of raw stuff into the finished product, but the 
mere utterance of the word achieves at once and 
perfectly the Divine intention" (Peake, Heroes and 
Martyrs of Faith, pp. 27f.). And just as, after dark- 
ness and sleep, the light comes that man may go 
forth to his work till the night closes in when no 
man can work, so after the eternal night which has 
rested on the abyss, light comes, to be followed by 
God's creative work. For the Hebrews light and 
darkness were " physical essences " (Cheyne), each 
having its own abode (Job SSigf.), from which each 
in turn issued to illumine or darken the world. 
When light was first created, it streamed out into 
the darkness, and mingled with it as one fluid with 
another. But such a confusion it is the purpose of 
creation to overcome, so God separates the light 
from the darkness. This separation is partly tem- 
poral, as 5 indicates ; each has a period in the 
twenty-four hours in which to function, yielding 
then the field to the other. But the temporal rests 
on a local separation. The two are disentangled, 
and then each is assigned first its local habitation 
(Job SSigf.), then its period of operation. Light 
is thus not due to the heavenly bodies, which come 
into being only on the fourth day ; it has an indepen- 
dent existence. And it is entirely adequate to its 
purpose, for God pronounces it '' good,' by which 
He means that it corresponded to His design, the 
result was precisely what He had intended. To the 
light He gives the name of Day, to the darkness the 
name Night. The temporal mingling of light and 
darkness, which we call twilight, is much briefer in 
Palestine or Babylonia than in ou